Wales turned around a 10-point deficit and had to contend with more serious injuries but managed to stay in the contest at Twickenham and come away with a hugely valuable 28-25 victory that shocked England players and fans alike.
Wales showed huge character, but while England had a chance for at least a draw in the final minutes, they weren’t able to take the opportunity and home fans were left shellshocked.
Chris Robshaw’s decision to go for the lineout rather than attempt a kick at goal could come back to haunt them in a Pool that is so closely contested.
Earlier England were ahead and in control with Welsh players dropping like flies, but they too were required to make a few changes after various knocks disrupted their play and gave Wales a sniff at a comeback.
Wales took it well, with Dan Biggar putting in a sensational kicking performance and the backs out wide setting up a very well taken try for scrumhalf Gareth Davies.
Both Owen Farrell and Biggar were outstanding with the boot on the night, with the England number ten kicking 5 penalties, a conversion and a dropgoal, while Biggar kicked 7 penalties and converted the crucial second half try.
England coach Stuart Lancaster said he was ‘gutted’, while Wales coach Warren Gatland, usually quite reserved, could be seen punching the air in celebration at the final whistle.
“I thought England would have gone for goal and got the draw,” Gatland said. “Get it right and you are a hero. Get it wrong and you are zero.”
England skipper Chris Robshaw explained that it was his decision at the end.
“The call came down to myself. I spoke to the kickers and we decided it was a tough kick and that we wanted to go for the win. A couple of lineouts before we had gained ascendancy but unfortunately it did not come off.”
View highlights below and reaction from the coaches, skippers and Dan Biggar on page two
Wales coach Warren Gatland
England Coach Stuart Lancaster