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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 September 2005, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Wales keep Nations title in loss
Wales were crowned the Parkhouse Recruitment Conference Home Nations champions for the fourth year running, despite losing 32-36 against England.

Previous results meant Wales had the luxury of knowing they could lose by 103 points and still be champions.

But England signalled early intent to make a fist of things by racing to a 22-0 lead in the first 24 minutes.

Wales fought back to lead 32-30 in the dying moments, only for Karl Leach to burst through and hand England the win.

England began by running riot with three tries in 10 minutes from Dave West, Paul Lord and Darryl Lacey.

When Lord and Lacey combined with Tom Sibley to send Ryan Knights in for the fourth English try it looked as though England were on target for a first win over their close rivals.

Wales were roused into action and got onto the scoreboard with a Jim Barnes try on 29 minutes.

England responded with a short-range effort from Leach, but Wales narrowed the gap to 18 with a Damien Smith score in the corner to go in 8-26 down at the break.

England restored their advantage on 46 minutes when substitute John Dudley crashed over, but the sin-binning six minutes later of winger Knights gave the Welshmen real heart.

Within a minute, Wales had scored their third try through Neil Davies and five minutes later Karl Thomas finished off a great passing movement to bring the score back to 20-30.

Loose forward Marcus Sainsbury ensured a grandstand finish when he latched on to Gareth Jones┐ pass to score under the posts.

And Wales thought their dominance was complete when Lloyd O┐Connor went over from short distance to give the men in red the lead for the first time.

But trailing 32-30 in the dying moments England kept on pressing.

They were rewarded for their persistence by an injury-time try under the posts, through another power run by Leach.

So the day belonged to England, with their first ever Home Nations victory over Wales.

But for the fourth consecutive year, the championship and the Cheltenham Regency Trophy remain firmly in the hands of Wales.


Wales: 1 Neil Dixon (Bridgend Blue Bulls), 2 Grant Epton (Bridgend), 3 Jim Barnes (Royal Navy), 4 Neil Davies (Aberavon Fighting Irish), 5 Damien Smith (Torfaen Tigers), 6 Gareth David (Bridgend), 7 Gareth Jones (Cardiff Demons), 8 Nathan Strong (captain) (Bridgend), 9 Jason Hill (Torfaen), 10 Steve Mayley (Torfaen), 11 John Purnell (Bridgend), 12 Karl Hocking (Bridgend), 13 Marcus Sainsbury (Bridgend). Subs: 14 Lloyd O┐Connor (Bridgend), 15 Carle Ellis, 16 Carl Thomas (Valley Cougars), 17 Adrian Owen (Valley Cougars).

England: 1 Richard Whitehouse (Telford Raiders), 2 Dave West (Ipswich Rhinos), 3 Karl Wesley (Leicester Phoenix), 4 Tom Sibley (Blackpool Sea Eagles), 5 Ryan Knights (Blackpool), 6 Darryl Lacey (Liverpool Buccaneers), 7 Paul Lord (Blackpool), 8 Anthony Wraith (Bolton le Moors), 9 Chris Spiers (Blackpool), 10 Harry Heaseman (St Ives Roosters), 11 Karl Leach (Widnes Saints), 12 John Stabler (Greenwich Admirals), 13 Dan Reeds (Lincoln). Subs 14 John Dudley (Nottingham Outlaws), 15 Chris Trentham (Nottingham), 16 Keiron Lacey (Liverpool), 17 Richard Lofthouse (Blackpool).




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