Wales 16-21 England: Six Nations Match Report
England steal victory in Cardiff
Both teams won their opening weekend fixtures, however, England were clear favourites on this occasion having avoided defeat for the whole of 2016 and claiming last year's Grand Slam.
It took just five minutes for Leigh Halfpenny to put Wales into the lead with a penalty from the half-way line. The following ten minutes saw England dominate possession and territory, and they would reap the rewards on the ten-minute mark as Ben Youngs bundled over to put England into the lead, however, Owen Farrell failed to add further points with the conversion.
The remainder of the half saw Wales play some stunning attacking rugby, but they couldn’t break down a dogged England defence, as skipper Alun Wyn Jones and Rhys Webb squandered chances with the try line at their mercy. Halfpenny added a further three points with his boot, putting Wales into a 6-5 lead.
The already scintillating atmosphere inside the stadium began to build as the Welsh crowd tried to spur on their side to a deserved try. They saw their calls answered five minutes before the break as winger Liam Williams cut through the England back line and score under the posts, to set up Halfpenny with a simple conversion to put Wales 13-5 up.
England immediately set out to put points on the board before half-time and they did exactly that through Farrell’s penalty meaning the teams went into the dressing room with the score at 13-8 to Wales.
The second half saw Wales continue to attack England’s defence with fast flowing rugby and they appeared to make an early breakthrough as Dan Bigger glided towards the England try line only for the referee to pull it back for a forward pass from Webb.
Wales put together a number of aggressive attacks and seemed certain to score a try but the England defence hung on, leading to Halfpenny settling for three points by electing to go for goal with his penalty. The penalty meant that England would need more than just a three points to level the scores and, with this in mind, they began to up their performance and threaten the Welsh defence.
Having gained some positive territory, Farrell elected to kick for goal from an England penalty, and successfully fired through the posts to bring the score to 16-14 to Wales and set up a grandstand finish to what had been a superb game of rugby.
For all of England’s effort, it seemed the Welsh defence would see the game out, but on 87 minutes Jonathon Davies’ clearance kick found the arms of Mike Brown who’s counter attack was finished in the corner by winger Elliot Daily to put England into a three-point lead with minutes remaining.
The three-point margin would’ve left Wales with hope of a draw in the dying minutes, Farrell, however, kept his nerve and sent his conversion through the posts to make the score 21-16 to England.
England kept possession of the ball from kick off before sending it into the stands on the 80-minute mark to end this epic affair with a victory.