England gave their World Cup hopes a boost when they destroyed Wales 62-5 at Twickenham.
This “friendly” (sold to the public as a Test) told us nothing we didn’t know already. England’s pack can match any in the world, but their backs are pretty ordinary. Wales were awful in the Six Nations and judging by today’s effort they’ve spent the off-season improving their tans.
Wales’s pack was understrength, but they will still be embarrassed at how they were pummelled by the Poms. Six of England’s nine tries came from the forwards, who mauled like they were up against local club players called in to help at training.
The tone was set when England scored twice in the opening quarter through No 8 Nick Easter. The first came after a break by scrumhalf Shaun Perry down the blindside and the second from a 5m line-out and subsequent driving maul.
Wilkinson uncharacteristically missed two of his first three shots at goal, including an early penalty, but helped set up England’s third try when he broke two tackles inside Wales’ 22. The forwards cleaned up quickly and second-rower Steve Borthwick barged over. Wilkinson added the conversion and slotted a penalty soon after to make it 22-0.
England’s dominance continued after half-time when Easter was driven over for his hat-trick. Perry then finally claimed one for the backs, although it was the forwards who helped him across.
At this point England were leading 36-0, but Wales hit back when winger Daffyd James found himself on the end of a rare overlap and scored in the corner.
The biggest cheer of the day came when Lawrence Dallaglio replaced Easter midway through the second half, and the World Cup winner repaid the fans support with England’s sixth try.
Perry then scored his second to bring up 50 points, before Jason Robinson and Mathew Tait completed the rout with another two touchdowns.
England –Tries: Nick Easter (3), Steve Borthwick, Shaun Perry (2), Lawrence Dallaglio, Jason Robinson, Mathew Tait. Conversions: Jonny Wilkinson (7). Penalty: Wilkinson.
Wales – Try: Dafydd James.
By Simon Borchardt