ENGLAND won their opening 2011 Six Nations match against Wales at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium last night to set up the Grand Slam and inflict yet more pain on the Welsh. 😛
It was Wales who started the stronger side and had two early penalties awarded to them by 2007 World Cup Final referee Alain Rolland. But both were missed by Stephen Jones and James Hook and Wales saw six vital early points go begging.
Then it was England’s turn to take charge of the match, and the 2003 world champions opened the scoring thanks to a try from the diving Chris Ashton on 14 minutes.
Toby Flood converted the try and kicked a penalty five minutes later to put England 10-0 up.
Wales scored their first points of the match not long after thanks to a penalty from Stephen Jones and soon found themselves a man up when England’s Louis Deacon was sin-binned for ‘killing the ball illegally’, when Wales were bearing down on the English try line. Jones scored the resultant penalty but again Wales failed to press home the advantage and it was England’s Flood who scored the last points of the half. England led 13-6.
Jones kicked a penalty for Wales to put the home team just four points behind England at the start of the second half, but hopes of a Wales fight back were dashed when Craig Mitchell was put in the sin-bin for killing the ball at a ruck. Flood again scored his third penalty of the night to put England 16-9 up.
Then Ashton put England well and truly at arm’s length by scoring his second try of the night. This too was converted by Flood. England now led 23-9. But Wales were now back up to 15 men and determined to fight back and with only 20 minutes to go Morgan Stoddard scored a much needed try for Wales. Jones converted said try and this brought Wales back to being just seven points (a converted try) away from England.
Shortly afterwards Man of the Match Toby Flood was replaced by the legendary Jonny Wilkinson, which brought many boos from the Wales supporters. It’s not unsporting; they’re just showing that they are worried he is on the pitch.
Unfortunately it wasn’t Wilkinson doing the next bit of scoring. That honour fell to Hook whose successful penalty kick brought the score to 23-19 in England’s favour with just 10 minutes on the clock. England then promptly went up the other end of the pitch and battered Wales’s try line looking to end the game, alas to no avail.
But fortunately for England, Wilkinson kicked a late penalty to secure a 26-19 win for England. 😀
This is England’s first victory in Wales since 2003, the year we last won the Grand Slam and the year we won the World Cup – there just happens to be one of these in New Zealand later this year. Wales on the other hand have still yet to win a Test match since last year’s Six Nations when they beat Italy 33-10 on the last day.
The match itself was a great advert for the game, and more importantly (referencing England’s Ben Foden) THE BIG COUNTRY HAS PUT THE LITTLE COUNTRY WELL AND TRULY IN IT’S PLACE!
England now have three consecutive matches at Twickenham against: Italy, reigning champions France and Scotland.
This could get very tasty indeed.