England end Welsh reign

Updated: March 9, 2014

England v New Zealand - QBE International

England ended Wales’ 2 year reign as Six Nations champions with a comprehensive 29-18 victory at Twickenham. The win secured the Triple Crown for Stuart Lancaster’s team and also kept their hopes alive of a first Championship since 2011.

On a glorious day at Twickenham, perfect for running rugby, the stage was set for a thrilling spectacle which unfortunately didn’t materialise. Wales simply never turned up and if it wasn’t for the boot of Leigh Halfpenny the scoreline would have been far less flattering.

Despite the perfect conditions, disappointingly it was the boot that provided most of the entertainment as 37 of the points came from the boot of Farrell and the Welsh fullback, hardly the sort of entertainment expected for such a big occasion.

Wales were simply terrible in the first half as none of there big ball carriers got themselves into the game. Priestland at 10 wasted possession time and time again, kicking the ball aimlessly down field as though he didn’t realise he played alongside the likes of George North, Alex Cuthbert and Jamie Roberts.

This tactic played into the hands of England as Mike Brown was at his counterattacking best finding holes all over the Welsh defence, providing a good platform for his forwards to go about their business gaining the hard yards and inevitably forcing the penalty and the 3 points.

Both of England’s tries will make Gatland cringe, firstly Danny Care catching the entire Welsh team with their backs turned when he quickly tapped the penalty and dived over the line before the visitors defence could even blink, a mistake that is often associated with schoolboy rugby.

England’s second try again came from a Welsh mistake as they lost their own ball in the lineout. England moved it out to the left with Twelvetrees putting a deft kick through to the corner for Burrell to score his third England try.

Twelvetrees and Burrell again put on an impressive midfield show for Lancaster while Joe Launchbury and man of the match Courtney Lawes are maturing into a world class second row unit.

Other impressive contributions for England came in the huge frame of Ben Morgan that proved a more than capable replacement for the injured Vunipola while Farrell put on a very commanding performance with the boot.

Despite Farrell’s contribution he still lacks that extra edge going forward especially considering his resources of attacking options outside him that seem to be growing in confidence as each game goes by.

England thoroughly deserved their win and Wales thoroughly deserve what is coming their way from Gatland and his coaching team. All this considered it leaves Ireland, England and France as they only 3 possible winners with Ireland very much in the driving seat and considering they will want to give Brian O’Driscoll the perfect send-off it is very much theirs to lose.