England and Wales eye World Cup boost
August 1, 2011
England's Chris Ashton dives over to score during his side's victory over Wales in this year's Six Nations © Getty Images
England will look to extend their all-time advantage over Wales when the two sides go head-to-head in a Rugby World Cup warm-up clash at Twickenham on Saturday.
There have been 120 matches between the nations since February 1881. England led the series until 1907, when Welsh rugby was enjoying its first Golden Era. After that, there were never more than two wins separating the sides until 1925. England then stayed in front until 1970 when Wales were embarking on another Golden Era.
The Welsh led the series from 1971 until 2003, but England now lead in the all-time results by two victories thanks to their 26-19 victory in their Six Nations clash in Cardiff in February where two tries from winger Chris Ashton propelled the visitors to victory. The last of the dozen draws was at Cardiff in 1983.
England's 62-5 win at Twickenham in the 2007 World Cup warm-up friendly and Wales's 34-21 Cardiff win in 1967 - Keith Jarrett's famous debut match - are the best scores recorded by the teams in this series.
England did win, however, by seven goals, six tries and a dropped goal to nil at Blackheath in 1881, before scoring by points were introduced. The try-count of 13 that day stands as the series record for a match.
The best winning margin (57 points) in the matches was established in England's success at Twickenham in 2007. Wales won 25-0 in 1905 - their best margin - and scored eight tries - their best return for the fixture - in the mud at Cardiff in 1922.
Jonny Wilkinson set the record for the highest individual score in a match contributing 30 points at Twickenham in 2002. The Welsh record for a match is 22 points by Neil Jenkins at Wembley in the last ever Five Nations fixture, in 1999. James Hook equalled that Welsh record when the sides met in Cardiff in 2007.
Four players have scored four tries in a match. George Burton and Nick Easter - both forwards - respectively performed the feat for England in the Blackheath match of 1881 and the Twickenham friendly in 2007. Wing three-quarter Willie Llewellyn crossed four times for Wales on his Test debut at Swansea in 1899 and Maurice Richards, also a wing, went over for Wales at Cardiff in 1969.
Wilkinson is the leading overall scorer in the matches. He has scored 169 points for England since 1999. Neil Jenkins holds the corresponding record for Wales with 65 in his ten appearances between 1991 and 2001.
Will Greenwood's try for England when the sides met in the 2003 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals in Brisbane made him the leading try-getter in the series with seven. Gerald Davies, Dewi Bebb and Willie Llewellyn each scored six for Wales.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin