History favours England
February 20, 2012
England's James Haskell forces his way over during his side's last meeting with Wales at Twickenham © Getty Images
England and Wales will put their unbeaten records on the line when they go head-to-head in the Six Nations at Twickenham on Saturday.
The two European giants have met 122 times with Wales' 19-9 victory over their old rivals in Cardiff last August their 54th since their first clash in 1881. England's 23-19 win the previous weekend ensures they are two victories better off in the all-time standings with 12 matches drawn.
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 and led the series from 1971 until 2003.
England have won 28 of the 47 matches staged against Wales at Twickenham and the principality can boast just one successful trip to the stadium in their last 13 attempts - a 26-19 victory in 2008.
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 scored 182 points for England between 1999 and 2011. 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.
Rory Underwood set the record for most appearances in the series, playing 14 times between 1984 and 1996 (including a World Cup match in 1987). Gareth Thomas also featured in 14 matches for Wales.
England-Wales Six Nations results:
© 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