England power past lacklustre Wales
October 4, 2006
Matt Dawson dives in to score
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England got their 2006 Six Nations campaign off to a flying start with a comprehensive 47-13 victory over reigning champions Wales at Twickenham.
Andy Robinson's side weathered a lively opening from their visitors but powered away in the latter stages to end any hope the Welsh had of repeating their grand slam glory of last year.
Mark Cueto, Lewis Moody, Lawrence Dallaglio, Matt Dawson and Tom Voyce heaped woe on Wales, who have not won at Twickenham since 1988, and by doing so laid down an impressive marker to their rivals for the northern hemisphere crown.
In an eventful opening period Mike Ruddock's side signalled their intent by showing an eagerness to stretch England at every opportunity and punish any mistake.
This approach, coupled with the pace of wing Mark Jones almost saw the visitors go ahead in the opening couple of minutes and it had not been for a try saving tackle from Josh Lewsey, who as a result had to be replaced a few minutes later, England's campaign would have got of to the worst possible start.
Another scare for England , orchestrated by full-back Gareth Thomas soon followed before Mark Cueto settled the nerves of his coach and fans alike with the first try of the game.
Cutting an incisive diagonal line across the Welsh midfield the Sale speedster showed enough gas to evade the cover of Shane Williams to dot down. Charlie Hodgson's successful conversion took him through the 200 Test points barrier.
Wales were not to be subdued and a penalty from Stephen Jones closed the deficit before the pace of Williams once again caused problems in the English defence.
Hodgson settled the nerves again with a long range penalty and it appeared that England would find their stride. An intelligent snipe from scrum-half Harry Ellis saw England surge into their opponent's 22, and after several phases of play Lewis Moody was driven over for the second try of the game.
Hodgson missed the difficult conversion and soon after it was a poor clearance from the Sale flyhalf that set the platform for Wales ' first try.
A good lineout from the Welsh just past the half hour saw Peel break the gainline at speed; he was held up just short but was able to offload to Martyn Williams who crashed over to the travelling supports' delight.
Stephen Jones slotted the extras to close the gap to within five points and offer hope of further resurgence in the second half.
England started the brighter after the re-start and when Ben Cohen was pulled back to prevent him taking a scoring pass deep inside the Wales 22, Hodgson stepped up to extend his side's advantage.
But to their credit, Wales continued to be inventive and caused England problems with their superior broken play but England 's defence ensured their only reward was a penalty.
Following the next re-start Wales flanker Martyn Williams was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous challenge on Moody as he attempted to claim the ball and as a result Hodgson was able to cancel out Jones' effort from moments earlier.
Hodgson missed a chance to extend England 's lead on the hour mark but the home side's increasing dominance led to their next try from Tindall. The lively Voyce got away inside the 22 and went close before eventually Tindall dived in at the corner.
The introduction of Dallaglio for the second time, after a brief spell in the first half as a blood replacement, triggered a warm reception as skipper Corry made way.
It did not take the Wasps star long to mark his international return in style by producing a archetypal charge to the line, holding off challenges on the way, to grab England's next try.
Hodgson's conversion stretched the lead to 20 points but England were far from done.
There was still time for another England veteran, in the form of replacement scrum half Matt Dawson, to underline his value to the side.
Dallaglio's Wasps' team mate disrupted a Welsh scrum inside the 22 before snaffling the scraps and racing over to score.
Leicester flyhalf Andy Goode, a replacement for Hodgson, added the extras and continued to impress in his cameo role.
The victory was complete with the hard-working Voyce notching a deserved try which was again converted by Goode with the final kick of the game.
Although Ruddock will surely be disappointed at the avalanche of points his side conceded in the closing stages, his side once again underlined their ability to cause he best fences in the game trouble with pace and flair.
England boss Robinson will be breathing easy after they were given several scares by the Welsh, but England 's ability to close out a game and raise the bar when required will have been noticed by those awaiting their formidable challenge later in the competition.
England : 47
Tries: Cueto, Moody, Tindall, Dallaglio, Dawson, Voyce
Con: Hodgson (2), Goode (2)
Pen: Hodgson (3)
Wales : 13
Try: M. Williams
Con: S. Jones
Pen: S. Jones (2)
Yellow Card: M. Williams (Wal)
Six Nations Man of the Match: M. Stevens (Eng)
England : Lewsey, Cueto, Noon , Tindall, Cohen, Hodgson, Ellis, Sheridan , Thompson, Stevens, Borthwick, Grewcock, Worsley, Moody, Corry (c).
Replacements: Mears, White, Shaw, Dallaglio, Dawson, Goode, Voyce.
Wales: G. Thomas (c), S. Jones, Luscombe, Watkins, S. Williams, S. Jones, Peel, D. Jones, R. Thomas, A. Jones, Gough, Sidoli, Charvis, M. Williams, Owen.
Replacements: Davies, Jenkins, A.M Jones, Popham, Cooper, Robinson, Byrne.