England coast past Wales at Twickenham

mike brown

England recorded what turned out to be a relatively comfortable win against Wales at Twickenham, beating the visitors 29-18.

On a sunny afternoon in South West London the conditions were perfect for running rugby, and England were the ones to make the most of it. The afternoon got off to a great start for the hosts, as Danny Care twice tapped penalties quickly and nipped over under the posts to give England an early 7-0 lead.

Luther Burrell dotted down in the corner in the 33rd minute after a superbly weighted grubber through from Billy Twelvetrees, who also had one of his most influential games in an England shirt to date.

And while the boot of Leigh Halfpenny kept Wales in touch for the majority of the game, it was a strangely lacklustre performance from the Welshmen, showing little of the attacking verve that they had played with in the previous round against France.

statsThe stats back up this assessment. While the teams shared 50% each of possession, England made vastly more metres with ball in hand – 570 compared to 420 – and beat more men – 24 to 19 – than Wales.

The visitors were their own worst enemies at times, turning the ball over on 17 separate occasions. They were also some way off achieving the most important Key to the Game, according to IBM TryTracker, making just 82% of their tackles.

England, meanwhile, smashed two of theirs, making six clean line breaks and forcing a penalty from an impressive 50% of scrums.

For the hosts, Mike Brown again excelled. He was England’s most potent attacking threat, making 156 metres with ball in hand and beating seven defenders. Luther Burrell also put in a strong performance, making six gainline breaks and 44 metres, and of course weighing in with the all important second try.

England capture the Triple Crown and travel to Rome next weekend, knowing they will need a big win if they are to reel in Ireland’s superior points difference. Another performance like this, however, and they stand an excellent chance.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

For more stats and live analysis during all the England games, head to IBM TryTracker.

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

38 thoughts on “England coast past Wales at Twickenham


    I ve been waiting a long time to make this comment. ;)

    *(c) Norwegian football commentary c. 1981

    What a tense match. Imagine what this side can do with Corbs, Cole, Billy V, Tuilagi and Sam Burgess!!!

    1. Don’t forget Parling, Croft, Yarde, Wade and Foden!
      All of the above would make my match day 23 if fit and firing.

  2. I will postpone my comments until we have heard from Brighty, I can’t think of much that is positive to say about Wales at the moment. Men against boys? I don’t think so

      1. I have to agree with you Brighty, what he actually said was –

        “All the talk is that the [England] boys have turned into men, that they have learnt some pretty harsh lessons from last year, that they have grown up,” Gatland said with trademark deadpan emphasis. “Time will tell, won’t it? We’ll see on Sunday.”

        Men against boys is an over-simplification but was how most of the press interpreted it.

        He certainly did “see on Sunday”

  3. Be fair Roy, Gatland was right with his men against boys comment. It was just a momentary loss of concentration made him get the teams the wrong way round!

  4. Our young inexperienced side have beaten 2 very experienced sides +ran NZ close.They will be very ready for the rwc.Congrats to SL on getting it right to date.In addition he has woken up the Twickenham crowd which is no mean feat!My only slight concern was our set piece.Next weekend could be very interesting-Dare I say come on France?

  5. What a first class world class game from Faz. Faultless kicking and good management. England smothered Wales and you could see it in their faces from 50 minutes that the game was up. England have taken another step up the ladder,but I fear the majority of this Welsh side have played their best rugby.

  6. Redemption! Thank goodness.

    Butchered overlaps, problems in the scrum, can’t score tries and too much poor tactical kicking. All accusations levelled at England this week! The boot as they say is well and truly on the other foot now!

    We’ve still got work to do, but where does Warrenball go now? Can’t beat the southern hemisphere and now can’t bully the better NH teams. There is too much talent in that Welsh backline to use it like Gatland does. If England had the Welsh back 3/4/5 the game would have been over by half time.

    Very happy right now!

  7. Very strange game from wales, didn’t understand the tactics in first half at all.

    Welsh scrum ‘gamesmanship’ spotted very early by poite which impacted on them greatly.

    England outplayed them in every department today and fully deserved their win, just waiting for the welsh press to tell us they had novovirus in camp this week ;-)

    1. To be fair, I think he was at the game so he might not have a chance to reply yet. However I’m waiting as well!

  8. Gatland has made some very odd comments this season which have backfired. Telling his team to strut like champions caused the opposite reaction and they played the first game as though they just had to turn up to win, and the men against boys comment this week just caused the England players to up their game. Maybe he’s suffering burn out as well!

    Am liking SL more each and every week!

    After that game what units would you pick. English front row, second row, not sure about back row, English half backs and centres, but maybe Welsh back three. Well that’s a turn around! Never thought I’d pick the England centres, but JD looked very rusty and JR was stopped from doing the only thing he’s good at – crash ball. Bet Gatland wishes he had Hook on the bench! Can’t believe I was even praising 12Ts tackling!

    Got his scrum halves the wrong way round too. Should have had Phillips on for the kick and chase bit and then Webb’s quicker passing when they finally decided to run it. (I do appreciate Webb got injured BTW).

    Still very happy!

  9. Fairly comfortable in the end, the result was never really in doubt for England. Really encouraging to see England looking to play with width and verve, rather than just trucking it up the middle. May and Nowell are still young and raw, but I think when yarde and wade are back England will become even more deadly.

    Wales have far too many good players to not bounce back strongly, maybe it’s time to base a game around Hook at fly half rather than the crash ball method. They are looking rather one dimensional atm, and I think the better sides have worked them out.

    1. People keep saying that May and Nowell are raw and inexperienced and that Wade and Yarde will swoop back in. However, May and Nowell are now more experienced internationally than either Wade or Yarde, who says they’ll be any better??

  10. Touched you are all waiting for my comment! I was a little busy having spent the day in Twickers and Richmond

    Don’t have a lot of time right now – well played England. The best team won. Wales need to to reconsider and regroup. A couple of good chances left begging. Caught napping for the tap, unforgivable. Good uncontentious match. Glad you all enjoyed it.

  11. Touched you’re all waiting for my response! Been a little busy in Twickenham and Richmond for most of the day.

    Well played England. The better team won. Wales need to regroup and reconsider where to go next. A few clear cut chances went begging, unforgivable. Also unforgivable to not be ready for the tap.

    To the victors the spoils. Enjoy.

  12. Wow, that was beyond my expectations. I expected there to be a decisive advantage in the centres … but not in our favour!

    Wales may not have been great, but I don’t think it was the game plan to go to the air so much, this was down to the pressure the English defence applied.

    Far from perfect, but to get a win over a team loaded with Lions whilst missing a number of key players and without being perfect is a fantastic result. Very happy.

    Such a shame Burrell grazed the touchline (and sorry to hear that 1/2p is out as a result of stopping him). It was a wonderful move, Burrell’s composure to wait for the support, the offloading and link play was magnificent, deserved to be finished.

    On to next week …… Allez les Bleus!

  13. Very good match, England deserved winners and Wales with a bit of head scratching to do. I don’t understand why Gatland has turned them into such a one dimensional team. The Welsh back line can be devastating if given a bit more freedom to play with the ball in hand. Aimless kicking gets them nowhere.

    One thing that has really impressed me is England’s strength in depth. They beat Wales by 11 points today without their first choice loose head, tight head, number eight, outside centre and both wings (arguably as Yarde and Wade would have started this six nations if fit).

    Now, spin that on its head. If that were Wales today without Jenkins, A. jones, Faletau, Davies, North and Cuthbert then they suddenly start to look worryingly shaky and I think England could have put a fair few more points on them.

    I worry that Wales will be very vulnerable to injuries leading up to the World Cup whereas Lancaster has now got two to three like for like players in each position that can step up and play to the exact same intensity and quality. Very encouraging signs from this young England squad.

  14. Great result for England. As a team proved me far, far wrong. Very impressed by Farrell’s control in the last 25 minutes, working the corners. excellent result, well played!

  15. Unbelievable game!

    Farrell was outstanding. He was completely in control of that game from start to finish. This England side is developing beautifully.

    Wales look a bit lost. As soon as we saw Roberts, Hibbard, Faletau et al. stopped short of the gain line, they looked confused and had nowhere to go.

    Twelvetrees as well looked outstanding. A real coming of age for him. Played brilliantly in attack (the little chip for Burrell being the highlight), and defended very well against Roberts. I’m glad I’ve continued to back him throughout this 6 nations.

  16. But for a couple of decent wingers, England may well have taken a bigger chunk out of Ireland’s enormous points difference.
    I coach an U12 side, and my wingers run straighter and truer than Messrs May and Nowell. It is incredibly frustrating when your wingers don’t back themselves, and then run backwards and sideways. Especially at this level.
    Surprised to see Gethin pinged so often at scrum time, but he was bang to rights.
    Both defences, when concentrating were devastating, both teams at times being forced back in attack.
    A good advertisement for Northern Hemisphere Rugby!

  17. Ed

    Interested in yr comment, particularly about wing play. I’ve opined before about the lack of TRIES from the England wing men, but others have stated that it doesn’t matter!? As long as the tries are coming!?

    I’ve also stated the a winger’s (main) job is to score tries, but again I’ve been admonished in so far as a winger’s role is manifest. In other words, they need to be seemingly more rounded & multi tasking.

    I don’t have an issue with the latter pt, but for me, when a team attack it needs to score pts, ideally tries. They’re worth more pts! Simple. And it’s the pace men out wide whose main task it ought to be to fulfil this role. Of course, on ‘D’ esp, their role changes & they have to mark up & help stop the oppo from scoring.

    However & I don’t doubt the gusto & verve of England’s May & Nowell, they don’t score! And I agree they do need to run STRAIGHT, as do the inside backs who still tend to crab sideways. It’s surely about creating space for the wingers to get the ball as quickly as poss & therefore in (more) space to do most damage.

    I’ll no doubt I’ll get flack on this comment for raining on England’s parade, esp as an NZer, but I used to play on the wing & hence my interest.

    Also, an eye needs to be kept on the June tour as it’ll be here before you can say ‘is that the time’. And if the England backs continue to run E to W & cramp their wings & if the latter do the same, as you reference, I think they’ll have a torrid time of it in NZ.

    It’s surely for England’s own good that they heed yr comments, but I somehow doubt that SL is reading this.

    1. I don’t think anyone has said they England don’t want their wingers to score tries. I also think blaming the men inside them is incorrect, as they’ve done a great job.

      Unfortunately for England Wade and Yarde are injured. Probably our two most attacking wingers, and certainly the best finishers. I’m sure they will both score tries when in the side.

      Nowell is not a winger, he is a FB, doing an excellent job there. He lacks the natural gas and finishing power to be an international winger. For me, he looks a ready made replacement for Mike Brown. Brown still has many years left though; but Nowell is just 20 and his time will come.

      May is a good winger, but I think most England fans agree that Wade/Yarde are better options.

    2. Nowell isn’t a prolific try scorer and whilst he’s done OK he shouldn’t keep the shirt ahead of someone who is.

      May does have a very good try scoring (and providing) record. Problem is what has been working for him at domestic/European level needs some adjustment for international rugby.


      Don’t right May off just yet, he’s quicker than anything you’ve got in an 11, 14 or 15 shirt so hopefully he’ll learn and develop from the experience (giving young players game time in key games ….. one of the other criticisms you level at England for not doing, that looked like experience in a key game to me!)

      7 backs tries in 4 games doesn’t make us Fiji, but it’s progress Don, undeniable progress. I’m more disappointed the forwards haven’t been able to convert a few from mauls than I am in the wingers for not dotting down yet.

    3. Don – for the first time in a while I’m not going to disagree with you in principle. Wings do need space and I counted a couple of occasions when the backline drifted sideways. That’s one of the problems of not having a Nonu/Umaga or Tuilagi in the team. The direct approach in the centres quite often leaves more space outside. However, if you’d asked me 6 months ago if our back play would have developed to the stage it is at now, I probably would have laughed. England are still a work in progress. Hopefully in 18 months time we will just about be there!

  18. Jacob

    @ least 1 punter did J. Wasn’t you was it? Other/s opined that it didn’t matter so long as tries were being scored.

    So I’ll ask you this; how you think that the men inside them’ (wingers) have ‘done a great job’ esp in the context of providing tries?

    As you know, the 2 tries England scored were when Care taxied thru the jumbo jet sized hole the Welsh sleep walkers left when they had their backs facing the oppo(!) & when Billy 12 grubbered for Burrell. Don’t misunderstand me, Care was as sharp as a tack & Billy’s kick worked well for him, but don’t you think they need to create out wide for Sgt Pepper’s Lonley Heart’s Club Band on the wings? More so when England seemed to dominate in the fwds (even tho above possession stats showed even?) & had plenty ball. And I’m looking ahead here.

    1. Don – now you’re over doing it. I will hark back to recent history once again. Prior to this match we hadn’t scored a try against Wales for I don’t know how long. They have a very effective defensive structure and big men out wide to make the tackles. Our backline scored two tries in the game and came close to at least one more. I’m happy with that as progress. As I’ve stated and I’m sure that most English fans would agree – we aren’t the finished article, but we are improving. Yes we’ve got to make better use of our wings, but one step at a time.

  19. Staggy

    …’not disagreeing with’ me… a miracle on a par with the loaves & the fishes then?

    What Ed the (presumably English?) coach said made a lot of sense to me.

    It’s not just having a basher, as I guess you mean by Nonu/Umaga (the former’s more than that now & always had a side step & fend & an eye for the gap anyway, IMO, altho he was frustrating in that he used to seem to either fall over or knock on more times than than David Beckham changed his hair style. I just think that Greenwood’s never been replaced for England as an all court centre. That’s all. I personally rate WG over Guscott, who was bit greedy @ times & could run his wingers into touch.

    It’s a knack for the inside backs to run for 1 or 2 steps then suddenly prop off the outside foot & almost in the same motion pass the ball (accurately!) to his wingman. It creates space by ‘fixing’, or drawing in, the oppo centre & with a bit of luck, the winger to him.

    It’s a fundamental thing for me & shuffling the wings for Wade (I like the Wasp) or Yarde isn’t the answer if the centres don’t give them quick ball in space.

    But ask Ed.

    1. OK, I liked that comment, it made me chuckle! To be fair the kiwis do make good use of their wings, not to mention good use of most of the rest of their positions! I still can’t see anything other than a 3-0 blackwash in June, just hoping we front up and acquit ourselves well.

  20. We seem to agree that the wingers number 1 job is to back himself and score tries.
    Yes, it’s nice to have a massive winger (North / Cuthbert) who can acquit himself well in defence, yes, it’s nice to have a speed merchant (Wade) who will run round defences all day long.
    More and more we’re looking for the total package as the game changes, everyone needs to be able to do everything. South Africans are all enormous, and we seem to be being drawn in to the size-is-everything ethos. I, personally, had a lot of time for Shrimpy-Spaniel, but I fear his days are numbered.
    Someone said (either in the blog or on one of these comments) that Jonny May too often runs all the way across the other side of the pitch, knackering himself out, creates a 2 on 1 with Nowell, but does not offload, forcing the clear out from Nowell. My apologies to the barnet, but Nowell clearing out Roberts / North / Cuthbert is just not going to work. If May decides to cut back, it should be to the protection of his forwards, and then 36, Burrell and Nowell can overlap from the breakdown.
    Had Roberts and Davies been on form, I think England could have found themselves in a lot more trouble.
    Let’s get back into my comfort zone…
    Having seen the player ratings in the forwards, I didn’t think there was so much disparity. Apart from Origami Jenkins, the scrums were pretty even. And neither hooker really hit his straps in the lineout (insert barn door analogy here).

  21. Staggolee

    Didn’t understand ‘now you’re over doing it’. Over doing what? Need to be more explicit.

  22. Staggy

    Watched the SA v NZ match @ Ellis (again) last night (too much propaganda, adverts eleswhere), when Ben Smith scored the 1st try. A real wingers score if I ever saw 1. Ed would be impressed too I’m sure (more so? if he were a Kiwi i.e.).

    However 3 of the 5 others were by fwds. However, most came form backline movements with fwds interchanging with the backs to create them.

    My belief is that it is the creation of space by the right running lines & or the timing & accuracy of the pass to this end . I base this on what I see in games… & it can be almost imperceptable at times.

    I get a bit deflated at times watching rugger being played by teams who butcher potential tries by not being creative enough or having the awareness or confidence or the lead from coaches to do this right. Not (just) because running it looks good, but because it can be more effective in getting pts.

    I would like(?) to see, e.g., Wade (provided he gets a shot for England in June) given the ball with some room to move in. He has lightning acceleration, a change of pace as well as raw speeeeed to frighten opposition like no other IMO. But he’s likely to suffer from the view that his lack of size will be a liabilty tho? However, to counter that, he just needs to position himself & tackle low, otherwise he’ll get swatted by the leviathons… but even they can’t run without their legs. If they off load, then they off load, but little pt in a tiny tot going high on the fatties.

    I think that SL is somewhat limited in his mind set tho as he should be talking Ed’s advice with his backs. The fwds can look after themselves up front & in ‘D’. The breakdown could be an issue in NZ, but if they can get the Christian enough pill on the wing & quick smart. Who knows?

  23. I have heard of this game – NZ vs. SA in the Rugby Championship – apparently the best rugby match in the world… ever.
    Sadly, I’ve not seen it. So I can’t comment.
    But what I can say is that NZ have proven that in attack ‘total rugby’ where forwards and backs can interchange will them in the top spot for quite some time. No one is afraid to get down and force turnovers – I believe Conrad Smith is one of the best at that.
    In defence no one can match SA, as they are simply enormous. Not as skilful, I don’t think, more of a rugby league style in attack, smash it up, and hope you have a runner on your shoulder. It looks good when it works, but when it doesn’t, against a well organised defence, it just looks like rugby league, and I think that’s boring!
    Back to the game at hand, however, I think the headline for this article is a bit misleading – “England coast past Wales…”
    Ask Chris Robshaw, (and watch him climb the stairs to get the shieldy thing) and he was certainly made to work for his victory.

  24. Ed

    Sure you were’nt not born in NZ? Backs running straight? Sacrilege.

    I too liked Sinbad, but too small for England (like Neil Back until eventually picked because he suddenly grew 6″ @ 27 yrs? of age) & his injuries didn’t help. Also, btw, Garvey when @ Glous with S-D. Saw him score the best TV try ever for me. Not when he simply ran only thru 1/2 the oppo team(!), but when he beat 3 men down the right touch line by sidestepping inside the 1st, the in & outside the nxt & finally chipping the 3rd! Unbelievable.

    So agree with you about E 2 W running. Kills moves.

    The NZ Saffa game was the most cut & thrust, not to mention sterssful for me, I’ve seen for some time.

    Agree about Conrad Smith… ‘is one of the best’ all round @ centre for me.

    SA can defend, as can England, but the ABs put 5 tries on them all the same. Seemed to stand & watch Messam & Barrett wander thru them. Mind you they ran o/side Charlie F a couple of times & Habana skinned them out wide for their 4 as well.

    Agree tho that teams that are R1 look gd if the oppo get overrun, but if held they’ve a prolem.

  25. Regsrds England, as the article & Gatland said, toooo many t/overs for Wales. England ‘D’ also held.

    I said Wales might squeak it, but that they’d also need to win the br’down. Didn’t. England did for me. W upped tempo in the 2nd 1/2, but too little too late. Geo Nth, the hero of the 1st Lions test, was anon without enough gd ball. the 2 tries weer thru the backs, but the 1st was due to Wales, as prev mentioned, being asleep… altho DC took his opportunity well. The 2nd, Billy’s grubber kick, worked out, but when kicking the ball away, it more often than not goes to the oppo. So need E to be aware of this also.

    Also that kicking contest before 1/2time which went on for longer than the tune, ‘Duelling banjos’ in ‘Deliverance’, is something England shoud eradicate before June… or else.

  26. Ed

    Btw, if you have access to Sky/Virgin, you can see the aforementiond SA v NZ game on ‘Catch up’.

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