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Saturday, 4 March, 2000, 18:25 GMT
The Year of the Rose

Five high: Wales give up the chase as Cohen seals it
BBC News Online's Jonathon Moore was at Twickenham to witness a comprehensive England victory - a game that saw Clive Woodward's side move closer still to their preferred brand of 'total rugby'.

The England juggernaut rolls on.

If Clive Woodward's men looked out of sorts in the first half at Twickenham on Saturday, they dispelled any doubts as to their true rugby pedigree in the second period.

Six Nations Championship
At times it was sublime.

Wales, who fought so bravely early on, were simply over-run.

With Lawrence Dallaglio leading from the front and Austin Healey and Ben Cohen plaguing the Welsh backline, the result was never in doubt.

Wales will be, and should be, sorely disappointed.

Their last visit to Twickenham two years ago was the stuff of nightmares. This was little better.

Hill: 'Supreme tactician'
The Chinese call it The Year of the Dragon but it is fast turning into The Year of the Rose.

Few would now bet against an England Grand Slam.

At last England married their two contrasting styles. Again their defence held firm but back came the bruising ability to break the tackle we saw against Ireland.

For 40 minutes the game was a stop-start affair.

A number of inconsistent decisions frustrated the Welsh and questions remain over the fitness of their pack.

But this was England's day.

England's back-row of Richard Hill, Lawrence Dallaglio and Neil Back were outstanding, both in the tight and in the loose.

Welsh defence: Ineffective
And although Phil Vickery struggled against Peter Rogers in the scrum, England could and should have passed the 50-point mark.

After just six minutes Dallaglio found himself unmarked and charging down the left flank.

But the pass went wide and Wales breathed a sigh of relief. Ditto in the 69th minute when Vickery had the choice of three England shirts on which to offload.

Instead, he hesitated and Wales again cleared their line.

Just where Graham Henry goes from here remains to be seen.

Wales failed to notch up a single point after the break, thanks perhaps to spending the better part of the second period with only 14 men on the pitch.

Dallaglio: 'Perfect platform'
Garin Jenkins was sin-binned for preventing England from taking a quick penalty and Scott Quinnell - largely anonymous all afternoon - followed for persistently lying on the ball.

England, however, can hold their heads up high.

Dallaglio's try which saw him power his way over the Welsh line from all of 30 yards, sent the Twickenham crowd into raptures, and rightly so.

Despite a shaky scrum, he consistently passed the gain line and provided the perfect platform from which England could launch their attacks.

Cohen's touchdown was the result of some quick-thinking from captain Matt Dawson, who consistently terrorised the retreating Welsh defence. Hill's was a supreme piece of tactical awareness and just reward for a superb afternoon's foraging up front.

As the flanker touched down underneath the posts for England's fourth try, Scott Quinnell simply turned towards the referee Jim Fleming and quizzically raised his arms.

It summed up the Welsh display.

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See also:

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