Old rivals meet again
August 7, 2011
Manu Tuilagi scored on his England debut against Wales at Twickenham © Getty Images
England travel across the Severn Bridge to face Wales for the second time in seven days as both side up their preparations for the Rugby World Cup.
Martin Johnson's men beat Wales 23-19 at Twickenham last Saturday to edge further ahead of Wales in the overall record between the two countries, with 56 victories to Wales' 53 since the fixture was first played in 1881. There have been 121 fixtures between the sides.
While England have traditionally struggled when straying across the border, with 34 defeats in 58 fixtures, their recent edge over their rivals is evident with four victories to three defeats at the Millennium Stadium since 2001. On the site of their previous national stadium, Wales won 23 out of 35 matches between 1893 and 1997.
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's contribution last weekend took his overall points tall against Wales up to 182, which dwarfs Dusty Hare's 58 points in second place. Neil Jenkins holds the corresponding record for Wales with 65 in his ten appearances between 1991 and 2001.
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.
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.
Manu Tuilagi became the 157th Englishman to score against Wales in an international with a try on his debut at Twickenham while 135 Welshman have enjoyed the scoring feeling against their rivals.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside