Sunday, August 07, 2011
England wore black as they hosted Wales at a packed Twickenham Stadium on Saturday and came away with what was in the end a tight 23-19 win, despite having at times looked more convincing than the scoreline perhaps suggests.
At 18-7 early in the second half it looked as though England were doing everything needed to leave HQ with a convincing win, yet Wales picked things up and made England scramble on defence. Jonny Wilkinson did what he does best though, keeping the scoreboard ticking along, racking up 13 points of his own thanks to his trusty boot. A drop goal with either foot included.
"Jonny managed it well but we didn't finish it off and in the end it was very close," said coach Martin Johnson. "We wanted a proper game, a Test match, it's what you have in the World Cup.
"If you beat teams by 70 points, everyone says you are a superstar. The good thing is there are things to work on for next week."
Young Manu Tuilagi, who got his first Test start, scored a typically well taken try, and looked menacing on defence and with ball in hand. At just 20 years young, he did his Rugby World Cup ambitions no harm at all with a solid all-round showing.
Lewis Moody unfortunately hobbled off with knee troubles, and Wales' Morgan Stoddart looks to have broken his leg really badly, tragically ruling him out of rugby for the next few months.
Both sides will need to lift their overall intensity over the next few weeks, but will no doubt continue to toy with key combinations as they build towards New Zealand next month.
Flyhalf battle: Did you like the look of Rhys Priestland at ten for Wales, and who would you have starting for England as first choice - Wilkinson or Toby Flood?