England trailed 16-8 at the break but came back to beat Wales 21-16 in a fascinating Six Nations opener at the Millennium Stadium on Friday night. The visitors had a few opportunities to score more points late in the game, but couldn’t convert.
Wales got first blood thanks to a neat bit of play by number eight Toby Faletau, despite his pack retreating at the hands of the England power up front. A perfectly timed pass sent Rhys Webb in for a lovely try, and things were looking good for the hosts.
England bounced back with a well taken try by Anthony Watson, and early in the second half Jonathan Joseph evaded three tacklers to trot over the tryline, before George Ford gave them the lead on the hour mark.
England had their chances, perhaps most notably with James Haskell, who was powerful throughout, but on that occasion stormed into the upright. Welsh winger Alex Cuthbert was yellow carded for his effort in preventing the try, before England were denied another try for crossing.
Flyhalf Ford sealed victory with a late penalty, and was named Man of the Match for his performance, which included a conversion and three penalties. He said post match that he wasjust doing it for his teammates. “I just wanted to knock it over for the lads,” said Ford.
Try scorer Joseph said that they have great self belief following the commanding performance.
“It’s incredible. No greater feeling to come here to Wales and win, probably one of our greatest rivals,” he told the BBC. “But the boys dug deep and got the win we deserved. There’s a lot of confidence in the side and we’ve got the belief we can attack and penetrate.”
View an official highlights report below. More clips from the match are on page two, including a post match interview with Geord Ford and a look at some fans’ reactions. You can also explore our new VideoHub for more on the Six Nations