Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
---------------
CHOOSE A SPORT
RELATED BBC SITES
Last Updated: Saturday, 2 February 2008, 18:23 GMT
England 19-26 Wales
By Phil Harlow

Lee Byrne
Lee Byrne celebrates his crucial try at Twickenham

England (16) 19
Try: Flood
Cons: Wilkinson
Pens: Wilkinson 3
Drop-goal: Wilkinson

Wales (6) 26
Tries: Byrne, Phillips
Cons: Hook 2
Pens: Hook 4

Wales claimed their first win at Twickenham for 20 years with a superb second-half comeback to defeat England.

England dominated the first half, with Jonny Wilkinson's boot and a Toby Flood try giving them a 16-6 half-time lead.

But the second half was a different story as James Hook kicked Wales to within seven points of England.

Lee Byrne finished off a superb move before Mike Phillips put Wales ahead for the first time after Iain Balshaw's indecisive kick was charged down.

It was Wales' first match under new coach Warren Gatland, and the New Zealander must have said something special to his players at half-time as they recovered from a terrible first half to get his reign off to a winning start.

England took the lead within a minute as Martyn Williams conceded a penalty straight from the kick-off, which Wilkinson knocked over with ease.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer

Hook quickly levelled the scores, but the warning signs were there for Wales as the visitors began to turn the ball over with alarming frequency.

Shaun Edwards, brought in as Wales' new defence coach, would not have been impressed as England winger David Strettle beat seven tacklers on a weaving run to within 5m of Wales' try-line in the opening minutes.

Wales were fortunate that Strettle failed to notice the unmarked Paul Sackey, but they fell behind again when Wilkinson kicked his second penalty.

A right-footed Wilkinson drop-goal kept England's scoreboard ticking over, and England extended their lead when his cross-kick isolated Mark Jones against debutant Lesley Vainikolo, on for the injured Strettle.

Toby Flood and Lesley Vainikolo celebrate England's first-half try
Flood and Vainikolo combined to create England's first try

The former rugby league star, sporting an extravagent hairstyle to mark the occasion, outjumped Jones and offloaded one-handed for Flood to score under the posts.

Hook kicked his second penalty to keep his side within 10 points of England, but the pressure was almost exclusively on Wales as their bad habit of turning over ball continued to undermine their hopes.

Wilkinson missed with a penalty but, after Sackey had a possible try ruled out by the video referee, England ended the half camped deep in Wales' 22.

Wales needed a steady start to the second half, but a suicidal attempt by Shane Williams to break from his own line ended with Wilkinson kicking another penalty to put his side 19-6 up.

With nothing to lose, Wales began to play with a little more fluency and Hook narrowed the gap after James Haskell conceded a penalty.

A lack of clarity of thought and how to play under pressure cost us and we helped Wales along the way

England coach Brian Ashton

A superb break from Henson - courtesy of glorious steps past Wilkinson and Andy Gomarsall - kept the pressure on England.

Some schoolboy errors saw England concede 70m in the space of a few seconds as player after player refused to take responsibility for a ball going backwards, and Hook punished them with another penalty.

England's first-half dominance was fast becoming a distant memory as a simply dreadful Wilkinson pass - which missed replacement Danny Cipriani by a good five metres - gave Wales the perfect attacking opportunity.

Hook danced around three tacklers and offloaded for Byrne to score and the fly-half then curled in a beautiful conversion to level the scores.

But worse was to follow for England just moments later as Balshaw dithered over a clearance kick deep in his own half and saw Phillips charge him down.

Gethin Jenkins claimed the loose ball, and two passes later Phillips dived in at the corner - going through Balshaw's last-ditch tackle - to put his side ahead for the first time.

Another superb Hook conversion put Wales seven points clear, and England never looked like getting close to their opponents' try-line.


England: Balshaw; Sackey, Tindall, Flood, Strettle; Wilkinson, Gomarsall; Sheridan, Regan, Vickery (capt), Shaw, Borthwick, Haskell, Moody, Narraway, Rees.
Replacements: , Vainikolo for Strettle (13), Rees for Moody (14), Kay for Rees (41), Mears for Regan (58), Cipriani for Tindall (64) Stevens for Vickery (69).
Not Used: Wigglesworth.

Wales: Byrne; M. Jones, Parker, Henson, S. Williams; Hook, Phillips; A. Jones, Bennett, D. Jones, A W Jones, Gough, J. Thomas, M. Williams, R. Jones (capt).
Replacements: Popham for J. Thomas (13),Shanklin for Parker (46), Jenkins for A. Jones (46), Rees for Bennett (58), Evans for A. Jones (78), .
Not Used: Cooper, S. Jones.

Att: 82,000

Ref: Craig Joubert (South Africa).



SEE ALSO
Six Nations photos
02 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations as it happened
02 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Ashton dismay at England collapse
02 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 16-11 Italy
02 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

BBC PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us | Advertise with us