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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 1 December 2020
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A hectic end to a fiercely physical second half.

Wales lose by three points, but just as was the case a fortnight ago in Twickenham, you get the sense England could have kept a far wider margin if they were fully focused.

Eddie Jones’ men will have to wait to see when the can complete their Six Nations campaign against Italy, but for now they sign off with a Triple Crown.

A bit of silverware that will come tarnished after that horrible hit from Tuilagi on Ford.

With relegation off the table, a suspension wouldn’t be an out and out disaster for Leicester Tigers, but the judicial committee would do well to somehow factor in an international implication when doling out their punishment.

TRY! England 33 Wales 28 (Tipuric ’81)

79Mins

Wales finally get their score after winning back possession. That was a full 10 minutes of time in the 22 and a whole lot of to-ing and fro-ing.

They won’t have time to get two more scores, but they have time for one to grab a losing bonus point.

It’s peculiar how England, having eased right off the pedal in the second half against Ireland, are again off the boil in the closing stages here.

77Mins

TRY! England 33 Wales 23 (Biggar ’77)

Down to 13, England stir themselves to force a penalty on the resulting maul and they fist-pump for victory in the skirmish.

75Mins

100% correct decision. Horrible hit from Tuilagi, no attempt to use his arms and North was already tagged by a team-mate.

75Mins

Wales, oddly, opt not to scrum and instead go to the line-out. Eventually, they must attack wide where the space is and George North has 15 square metres of space.

He’s caught and then he’s caught high by a flying Manu Tuilagi.

The big centre could be in real bother here, but thankfully North appears unscathed by an extremely dangerous tackle.

73Mins

The Welsh onslaught keeps coming and so too do the penalties against the men in white.

Genge is the unlucky umpteenth to be sent to the sin-bin.

70Mins

Another penalty against England (they haven’t been shy about tarnishing the discipline charts today) as Itoje leaps across the line-out.

The red pack go again and they set the platform for a wide attack, but England have them well covered off.

Pivac’s men keep the ball alive, somewhat miraculously, and Owen Farrell is given a team warning. ‘Next one will be yellow’ is no good for Wales, though, they need prompt action from the officials to take advantage of this position.

69Mins

Oh there’s more fire in Wales. Again they show their ability to attack from deep, raiding through the middle of England’s defence with runners and passing options in support.

England slow them down and concede a penalty, leading Wales to a line-out.

62Mins

England have been very patiently jabbing away at Wales and Youngs finds their tired spot, sniping through the middle to take big yards. 

They pick and drive at the line for four phases and when they go wide they put on the slick hands again as Ford tips on an offload into Tuilagi’s path.

Farrell is back with the tee and England are on their way to another convincing win.

England 33 Wales 16

60Mins

TRY! England 31 Wales 16 (Tuilagi ’60)

56Mins

Multi-skilled!

Big George Kruis gets off the line nice and quick, takes an intercept and rumbles on upfield. Rather than seek a collision, the lock puts in a delicate enough chip ahead with his left foot. 

It comes to nothing, but a fine example of England players being willing to play and attempt things you wouldn’t expect to be in their skill-set.

Ford took the tee as Farrell was taking treatment. England’s pack keeping them firmly in control, despite the thrilling opening to the half from Wales.

52Mins

Penalty! England 26 Wales 16 (Ford ’52)

45Mins

The ideal response to what is a very strong contender for try of the championship. Farrell punishes the visitors for a breakdown penalty and the ship is steadied as the lead goes back to seven. 

PENALTY! England 23 Wales 16 (Farrell 43)

41Mins

An absolutely sensational start to the second half from Wales. Wayne Pivac’s fingerprints were all over that one.

They take the restart deep in their own half. Tompkins slips a tackle, sets Navidi away down the right. England can barely lay a glove on the counter and Tomos Williams knits it all together by sending Tipuric galloping under the posts.

England 20 Wales 16

38Mins

PENALTY! England 20 Wales 6 (Farrell ’38)

36Mins

Parkes pinged for a high tackle now as England look to build a head of steam. Tuilagi at full tilt in a carry, but he’s caught with a shoulder in the ear as he dipped his shoulder down.

33Mins

Clinical execution from England, again starting off with a set-piece in that right-hand corner. They work the ball seamlessly towards the left where both out-halves are on hand to complete the move, Farrell to Ford and Daly storms to the corner.

England 17 Wales 6

32Mins

Farrell just misses connecting a cross-field kick to Daly there. It was an advantage play, so he goes back and knocks the ball for a line-out in the 22.

26Mins

A great platform to play off as Wales get another line-out in the red zone, but big Hadleigh spills the ball as he shapes to crash it up.

25Mins

Despite the strapping and the early bashes, Biggar looks very sharp out there. Cutting nice angles as he runs back on counter-attack and willing to bring a wide variety of tactical kicks.

The latest of those is expertly claimed by Tipuric wide on the right. He rides a tackle and the penalty comes as Farrell is again pinged for holding on when North took possession on.

21Mins

Penalty! England 10 Wales 6 (Halfpenny ’21)

19Mins

And another penalty comes against the hosts, this one for offside after a big Navidi carry through Farrell and Tuilagi.

18Mins

Straight after North’s knock-on on the line, Jonny May was sent for a HIA. Henry Slade is on in his place and looked sharp in possession until he ran into North and Navidi on the left wing and conceded a penalty.

Wales giving as good as they’re getting aside from the opening five-minute spell.

15Mins

PENALTY! England 10 Wales 3 (Farrell ’15)

15Mins

Joe Marler had me driven to distraction clearly. Halfpenny was on the kicking tee for Wales there, not Biggar.

Wales’ score could be cancelled out soon though as Owen Farrell will get a shot from 40 odd metres.

Penalty! England 7 Wales 3 (Halfpenny ’9)

8Mins

Farrell is punished with a penalty against him when England should be scrummaging to exit. Biggar will take aim at the posts.

7Mins

George North spilled the ball as he descended towards the line, then Farrell seems to instigate the row as they grapple on the ground.

7Mins

Wales do brilliantly from the resulting scrum. Wayne Pivac clearly not too proud to send them into a bit of Warrenball with vicious hard, straight carries bringing them left to right.

And, it seems, over the try-line before a scuffle breaks out.

7Mins

Jonny May is getting physio treatment here, they’re assessing his neck after a collision on the restart, but you can see him mouth ‘I’m ok’ as they twist his neck a second time.

He’s up and away before Biggar launches one for Liam Williams to hare after. Elliot Daly does well to contest, but knocks on as they pair collide in the air.

5Mins

Superb opener from England. They’ve apparently been working on ensuring they start strong. 

Curry takes the ball on off the tail of a line-out in the 22, hits Youngs, who whips the ball back to the short side and the brilliant Bath wing does the rest, stepping a defender and reaching for the try-line.

Farrell nails the extras too. Nightmare start for the men from across the Severn.

England 7 Wales 0

3Mins

Biggar takes the second of three high balls, this time he does well to side-step the onrushing punishment.

England will keep it coming, knowing Wales will be loathe to spend too long with Jarrod Evans in the pivot.

It wasn’t Curry alone making that shuddering hit, just Manu Tuilagi with the assist. 

1Mins

Ooof. Biggar takes a high ball back on halfway and he is absolutely bull-dozed on landing by a thumping Tom Curry hit.

Here’s kick-off then.  Biggar gets us underway with a heavy strapping around his right knee.

He drops the pill just inside England’s 22.

Here they come then, the teams are out on the field. Owen Farrell and Alun Wyn Jones lead their sides through the fireworks and we’re all set for some anthems.

Here’s how the teams will line up today. 

England welcome back Anthony Watson, a more conventional wing than they sent out to face Ireland.

There’s nothing conventional looking about their 6-7-8 setup though, with lock Courtney Lawes at blindside, blindside Mark Wilson at openside and openside Tom Curry at number 8. But sure lookit, Eddie’s forgotten more about rugby than most of us will ever know.

Wales have Dan Biggar patched up and ready to go. Here’s hoping he’s fit for purpose today. Josh Navidi returns to make a nice dynamic back row.

England: 

15 Elliot Daly, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Joe Marler, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Mark Wilson, 8 Tom Curry

Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Charlie Ewels, 21 Ben Earl, 22 Willi Heinz, 23 Henry Slade

Wales: 

15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tomos Williams, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Dillon Lewis, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Josh Navidi

Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rhys Carre,18 Leon Brown, 19 Aaron Shingler, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Johnny McNicholl

Good afternoon. We’ve the hands washed, public transport avoided and a bucket of sanitizer at the ready as we prepare to get to grips with what a massive Six Nations match.

Eddie Jones’ men are reinvigorated by their thumping win over Ireland a fortnight ago. Wayne Pivac, meanwhile, hasn’t quite been able to click this side together in his first campaign and they go to Twickenham with a distinctly patch-up feel.

That said, Wales have that handy knack of getting under England’s skin. We’ll see how they fare when we kick off at 16.45.

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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