England 33 Wales 30
England have won the Triple Crown after a powerful and dominant performance saw them emerge 33-30 winners over Wales at Twickenham.
Much of this match was played in the air as kickers on both teams were keen to test out their opponent’s back-three.
As we have seen so many times before, England tend to start games at a blistering pace and they did so once again by scoring a try after just four minutes on the clock.
Anthony Watson received a sublime reverse pass off a lineout setpiece and he produced an excellent step off his right to get around Tomos Williams and then he had too much strength for Liam Williams as he broke through the tackle to cross the whitewash.
Wales responded immediately with a strong carry from Nick Tompkins off a scrum set piece after Daly spilled a high ball which came from a Dan Biggar cross-kick. The visitors made good progress until they knocked the ball on over the try line but Owen Farrell was penalised for shoving George North on the ground which gave Leigh Halfpenny the opportunity to put three points on the board for Wales.
Both sides exchanged penalties through the boots of Halfpenny and Farrell until England went further ahead with another well-worked move off a lineout.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half, a lovely passing sequence between Farrell and George Ford released Elliot Daly on the wing where he found enough space to cross in the corner. Farrell’s conversion from the touchline was perfect which gave England a 17-6 lead.
Farrell and Dan Biggar kicked further penalties as the half came to a close to give England a commanding 20-9 lead at the break.
On the resumption of the second half, Wales hit back within 22 seconds after some superb counterattacking from Nick Tompkins eventually saw scrum-half Williams release Justin Tipuric who had a free run to the try line where he dotted down under the posts.
Biggar’s conversion brought it back to a four-point game but England responded well with two penalties through the boots of Farrell and Ford to give their side a more comfortable 10-point lead.
The next score would be crucial and that came the way of England as Manu Tuilagi crossed the line after some hard, direct carrying from the hosts narrowed the Welsh defence. Ford received the ball and produced an excellent offload to Tuilagi to cross over. Farrell continued his excellent kicking from the tee as he notched another difficult conversion.
Wales, to their credit, dominated the last quarter of the game which saw England’s Ellis Genge sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements from the home side before Tuilagi received a straight red card for a dangerous shoulder charge on George North.
Wales eventually made the numerical advantage count when Biggar crossed for his side’s second try and they were able to manage one last effort which saw Tipuric cross in the corner for his second try of the game.
However, at this stage, the clock was in the red as England came out with a 33-30 win and the Triple Crown.
England: Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Jonny May (Slade 8′), George Ford, Ben Youngs (Heinz 70′), Joe Marler (Genge 66′), Jamie George (Cowan-Dickie 58′), Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, George Kruis (Launchbury 58′), Courtney Lawes (Ewels 66′), Mark Wilson, Tom Curry.
Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Joe Launchbury, Charlie Ewels, Ben Earl, Willi Heinz, Henry Slade.
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Nick Tompkins, Hadleigh Parkes, Liam Williams (McNicholl 66′), Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams (Webb 46′); Rob Evans (Carre 58′), Ken Owens, Dillon Lewis (Brown 41′), Jake Ball (Shingler 58′), Alun Wyn Jones, Ross Moriarty (Faletau 58′), Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi.
Replacements: Ryan Elias, Rhys Carre, Leon Brown, Aaron Shingler, Taulupe Faletau, Rhys Webb, Jarrod Evans, Johnny McNicholl.