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England v Wales highlights: Six Nations score and reaction as hosts cling on for dramatic win at Twickenham

England 16-14 Wales: England produce second-half comeback to dramatically edge past old rivals Wales at Twickenham

Luke Baker
at Twickenham
Sunday 11 February 2024 12:05 GMT
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‘It’s a first step’: Jamie George hopeful after England's victory against Wales in Six Nations match

England’s ambition of making a fresh start on their return to Twickenham failed to produce the hoped-for fireworks but they at least had the resilience to dig out a 16-14 victory over Wales.

For the first time in Six Nations history, Warren Gatland’s team led at the interval in their great rival’s stronghold after storming 14-5 ahead through a penalty try and Alex Mann touch down.

But the favourites hit back when Fraser Dingwall went over in the left corner before George Ford stepped up to land the decisive penalty in the 72nd minute, rewarding a more polished second half.

Relive all the action from Twickenham in the blog below:

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George Ford slays the dragon but scrappy England win won’t go down in folklore

‘Twas George who slayed the dragon. This was hardly the stuff of legend that has made this great rivalry a Six Nations fixture of folklore but a fitful, flawed encounter always appeared likely to come down to who struck last. And it was England fly half George Ford who found the final three, the crucial points from the tee struck nine minutes from time, the sword of Ford piercing Welsh hearts on a day where Warren Gatland’s youngsters gave England an almighty fright.

This callow unit had looked unlikely to become the first Welsh side to win on this Cabbage Patch in the Six Nations for more than a decade but gave England all they had. Indeed, but for a loss of discipline in the second half they might even have conquered England’s castle, which never became the quaking cauldron promised.

But Welsh discipline slipped at the crucial moment. Between the 21st minute of last week’s defeat to Scotland and the 42nd here, Wales had gone 101 minutes without conceding a penalty, a frankly remarkable run without blemish that gave way to a pock-marked second-half performance here.

Full report from Harry Latham-Coyle at Twickenham:

George Ford slays the dragon but scrappy England win won’t go down in folklore

England 16-14 Wales: The fly half’s late penalty snatched victory for the hosts as Wales again fell short in a valiant defeat

Luke Baker10 February 2024 18:57
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George Ford left baffled by conversion decision in Wales win: ‘It doesn’t make sense’

George Ford was left baffled by the referee’s decision to allow Wales to deny his conversion attempt in England’s narrow Six Nations win at Twickenham.

After Ben Earl’s first half try, Ford was lining up a potentially crucial extra two points from just right of centre.

The fly half, as per his normal kicking routine, took a step to his left as he steadied himself and prepared to approach the ball.

The Welsh defence, assembled on their tryline, at this point began to charge, looking to referee James Doleman for permission.

Doleman spread his arms in approval, determining that Ford had begun his run-up and was thus free to be charged at. Ford never released a kick, with a Welsh player knocking the ball off his tee and the try remaining unconverted.

Ford requested an on-pitch explanation from the lead official, who insisted that he had begun his approach to the ball and did not allow a re-take.

“It doesn’t make sense to me that,” Ford said after kicking England to victory. “I’m trying to use the full shot-clock time as we’ve got men in the [sin] bin, you’re at the back of your stance, have your routine, and if adjusting your feet like that is initiating your run-up then... I’m not too sure to be honest.”

George Ford left baffled by conversion decision in Wales win: ‘It doesn’t make sense’

Referee James Doleman permitted Wales to charge after Ford took a step to the left as he prepared to take a conversion

Harry Latham-Coyle11 February 2024 12:05
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Dangerous defence the best form of attack as England build something special

Basking in the warm afterglow of a victory over fierce rivals Wales, England captain Jamie George was asked about the impact that new defence coach Felix Jones has had on the team. “I think he would love us to defend 100 phases at a time if we could,” laughed the always-gregarious George, before perhaps realising that wouldn’t exactly be a recipe for winning many Test matches and adding “but we try not to do that.”

Like most sports, it’s almost impossible to win in rugby if you don’t have the ball but you get the feeling that if any man could make it possible, then it’s Jones. A key part of the South Africa coaching staff in their back-to-back World Cup wins, Springboks players spoke in awe about the level of detail he brought to training sessions and viewing the extraordinary amount of analysis held on his ever-present laptop is said to not be for the faint-hearted...

By Luke Baker at Twickenham

Dangerous defence the best form of attack as England build something special

New defence coach Felix Jones has implemented an aggressive blitz defence that helped England subdue Wales in a dramatic Six Nations clash at Twickenham

Jamie Braidwood11 February 2024 09:00
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Jamie George on England’s next fixture against Scotland

“The most important thing is we can’t get ahead of ourselves. We need to use this fallow week to get better, because we are going to need to get better going up to Murrayfield. We believe in what we are doing, we believe in the England way and we want to keep growing. We’ve got the right people in place to keep growing.”

Borthwick mentions that George Martin could well be back in the mix for that Scotland fixture in a fortnight’s time, and mentions Manu Tuilagi and Luke Cowan-Dickie as two others who aren’t far away.

Harry Latham-Coyle10 February 2024 19:42
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Steve Borthwick on England’s win

“I think the first thing we take from there is that there is a team here that stays in the fight and finds a way. The biggest lesson here is the trait that the players are developing in themselves, which is one that stays in the fight.

“What I saw was a supporter base that stuck with this team as it found a way through the game. You look at the first half, the team did a lot of good things, but disappointingly we had a penalty count that was six-zero at half time, and two sin bins. It could have been 7-all in the 35th minute. What I sensed at half time was calm, composure, and great leadership from Jamie to find a way in the second half.”

On going to the kicking game more in the second half: “I think last weekend against Italy we went to the edge 17 times in attack. Today, on a greasy day, we weren’t too far short of that. We have shown development. I think they kicked one or two times more than we did today. I think the France-Scotland game had 82 kicks in it. It’s a part of the game as it is right now. We’ve talked about how the game needs to create space, and we can talk about what could happen another time to create more space.”

Harry Latham-Coyle10 February 2024 19:35
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Warren Gatland on Tommy Reffell

“One of the things that we have tried to focus on with Tommy Reffell is getting him being comfortable getting the ball in his hands a bit more. We saw that last week and again today. He’s starting to get a nice balance in his game, and I think that can take him to the next level. He just keeps going for 80 minutes.”

(Getty Images)
Harry Latham-Coyle10 February 2024 19:15
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Warren Gatland on Wales’ defeat

The Wales head coach says: “It’s pretty disappointing really. I’m proud of the performance and the effort of the players out there, I’m disappointed we didn’t come away with a win. It’s probably part of the journey we are on as a team but we should have won that game. We made a few errors in the second half that allowed them possession and territory. I said to the team, ‘we’re not there, but we’re going to be a bloody good team’. Today will be a part of that.

“Sometimes it takes time. I’m not going to be critical of any individuals because I’ve been through this before with different teams. They’ve made a lot of progress in the last few weeks and we put ourselves in a position to win, but we didn’t. We didn’t get the rub of the green in the second half, but that’s just rugby.”

Harry Latham-Coyle10 February 2024 19:13
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Wales captain Dafydd Jenkins reacts to England defeat

Wales came up just short at Twickenham and here’s what skipper Dafydd Jenkins had to say to ITV after the game.

Jenkins said: “Absolutely gutted, that game was there for us to win and we didn’t take it. We weren’t accurate enough, I am really disappointed.

“When you come to Twickenham you know it is going to be a physical battle and you have to match them, I don’t think we did that.

“I don’t think we can use being a young team as an excuse, if we are here, we are good enough. I think we’ve created the chances but we just weren’t accurate when finishing.”

(Getty Images)
Luke Baker10 February 2024 19:03
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Ben Earl reacts to narrow England win at Twickenham

England No 8 and player of the match Ben Earl said to ITV: “That was a proper Test match. It came down to the fine margins, the ball was in play for a long time, the boys dug in and we are really pleased.

“We rode it out with 13 men to a certain degree in the first half. We have been speaking about an identity and we keep building that - we are really pleased. We are trying to impose ourselves on every facet of the game, Freddie Steward was world-class today.

“In defence, our line-speed in most parts was exceptional. In attack, we want to move the ball and today we made good strides with that.

“I guess the most exciting thing is we have not even scratched the surface. We rest up for a couple of days then get back to work.”

(PA)
Luke Baker10 February 2024 19:02
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England 16-14 Wales

Freddie Steward was typically immense in the air tonight for England both in defence and attack. A sterling performance by the full back.

Luke Baker10 February 2024 18:45

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