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England 62-5 Wales
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By James Standley

Nick Easter celebrates his four tries at Twickenham
Easter became the first England number eight to score four tries

England (22) 62
Tries: Easter 4, Borthwick, Perry, Dallaglio, Robinson, Tait
Cons: Wilkinson 7
Pen: Wilkinson

Wales (0) 5
Try: James

Number eight Nick Easter scored four of England's nine tries as an experimental side racked up a record score against a second-string Wales at Twickenham.

The world champions ran in tries through Easter (two) and Steve Borthwick to lead 22-0 at half-time.

They extended their lead through two more Easter scores before Wales finally registered through Dafydd James.

But Lawrence Dallaglio, Shaun Perry, Jason Robinson and Mathew Tait added further tries as England romped clear.

Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, who looked sharp throughout, kicked 17 points to pass 900 in Tests as a dominant display by England's massive pack gave him an armchair ride in temperatures of 30C in London.

The win surpassed England's previous best margin against Wales of 50-10 during the 2002 Six Nations, and their previous highest score (60-26 in 1998).

With just three games remaining until the World Cup gets under way on 7 September both England boss Brian Ashton and Wales coach Gareth Jenkins used the game to examine their squads, but there was a big difference in their mindsets.

606: DEBATE
Ashton, who only took charge in December and is still trying to rebuild the struggling world champions, put out a team fielding a number of untried combinations, but ones which may be England's first choices come the World Cup.

Jenkins used the match to look at a number of players who will definitely not be first choices in France, and Wales paid the price as they were steamrollered.

England, who lost full-back Mark Cueto to a groin injury in the warm-up, missed the chance to take an eighth-minute lead when Wilkinson pushed a comparatively simple penalty wide.

But they opened their account just before the 15-minute mark when scrum-half Perry sniped down the blind-side.

The former welder, a stone lighter after some intensive fitness work, dummied through the first line of defence and although he was pulled down just short Easter burrowed over with the help of his mates in the pack.

606: DEBATE
Wilkinson missed the conversion but he made no mistake in the 21st minute following another break by Bristol number nine Perry deep into Welsh territory.

Wales infringed in desperation and England kicked the penalty into the corner before a machine-tooled catch and drive from the line-out saw Easter - like Perry looking much fitter - power over once again.

This time Wilkinson converted and with Wales looking under increasing pressure up front a big score was already on the cards.

Wales' Aled Brew, who was yellow carded for a shoulder charge, and Lee Bryne tackle England centre Dan Hipkiss
England centre Dan Hipkiss' incisive break came to a crunching end
The hosts collected a third try before half-time when the England pack once again put the Welsh on the back foot and a hot-stepping Wilkinson set up a beach head from which Borthwick plunged over.

Wilkinson picked himself up to add the extras and he kicked a penalty to make it 22-0 at the break after Aled Brew was yellow carded for a shoulder charge on Dan Hipkiss as the Leicester centre scythed through the Welsh midfield.

England lost captain Phil Vickery to injury at half-time but with their forwards obliterating their opposite numbers Easter took the opportunity to grab another short-range brace in the first 10 minutes after the break.

It looked as though Perry had scored the second of the tries, but he credited it to Easter after the game.

In the process Easter became the first number eight to score first a hat-trick and then four tries for England, albeit from a combined total of four metres.

He equalled the record for an English forward shared by George Burton (four against Wales in 1881) and Neil Back (four against Holland in 1998), and was the first player to score four or more tries for England since Josh Lewsey plundered five against Uruguay in the 2003 World Cup.

Wilkinson added both conversions to make it 36-0 with half an hour to go.

Lawrence Dallaglio celebrates in style after boosting his World Cup hopes with a try
Dallaglio celebrates his try
Harlequins number eight Easter trotted off after 50 minutes to be replaced by Lawrence Dallaglio, who received a rapturous reception.

He could do little as Wales immediately scored when sharp passing sent James over in the corner for an unconverted try.

But within seven minutes the 34-year-old had blasted over from the base of a scrum to show he intends to be in the mix in France.

Wilkinson's conversion extended the lead to 43-5 and he added the extras when a fine pass by Dallaglio handed Perry a try on a plate.

Wilkinson could not convert when Robinson scooted over in the corner but he made no mistake when Tait dotted down under the posts as England showed signs they may not be pushovers once their World Cup defence gets under way.


England: Tait; Strettle, Hipkiss, Farrell, Robinson; Wilkinson, Perry; Sheridan, Regan, Vickery (capt), Shaw, Borthwick, Corry, Worsley, Easter.
Replacements: Chuter, Stevens, Moody, Dallaglio, Gomarsall, Flood.

Wales: Byrne; A Brew, Shanklin, G Thomas (capt), D James; Sweeney, Cooper; I Thomas, Bennett, Horsman, W James, Sidoli, A W Jones, Charvis, Owen.
Replacements: Jenkins, R Thomas, T R Thomas, Popham, Phillips, Hook, T James.



SEE ALSO
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Wilkinson calls for England push
01 Aug 07 |  English
Centre Hipkiss gets England call
31 Jul 07 |  English
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