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England overcomes Wales from behind at Twickenham in Six Nations

LONDON (AP) — England came from behind at Twickenham to subdue Wales 16-14 in Six Nations rugby on Saturday.

With two wins from two games, England moved to the top of the standings with defending champion Ireland having a game in hand against Italy on Sunday.

A rebuilding England was down at halftime for a second straight test after Italy last weekend and managed to prevail without looking compelling.

It climbed from 14-5 behind at halftime — it was down to 13 men at one point — by controlling the second half thanks to a better kicking game, defense, and a far more experienced bench. The sustained pressure earned England a try and two penalties to get in front for the first time in the 72nd minute and comfortably stay there as Wales ran out of ideas.

“We won ugly, we were up against it in the first half, but we showed enough to come through,” England fullback Freddie Steward told the BBC. “We are still building and transitioning but we will come good.

“We have a big test at Murrayfield (against Scotland in two weeks), but happy to be two from two.”

Wales hasn’t won at Twickenham since 2015, and not in the Six Nations since 2012. A new-look side with seven changes from the one-point loss to Scotland at home last weekend was still impressive. It led England at Twickenham at halftime for the first time in the Six Nations era but after giving away no penalties in the first half, Wales lost its discipline in the second spell and finished with 14 men.

Replacement wing Mason Grady was sin-binned in the 71st minute for a deliberate knock-on, and George Ford slotted the penalty that put England ahead for good.

“We are going to be a good team, it’s just going to take us a little bit of time,” Wales coach Warren Gatland said. “Some players are learning about game management, and they learn it from experiences. It was a game there for us to win and I am proud of the effort.”

Wales goes to Ireland next.

England, unchanged for the first time since the 2019 World Cup, started intensely, with Steward and Elliot Daly slicing through but held out.

Then lock Ollie Chessum was sin-binned for head contact on Wales’ Kieron Assiratti. Wales used a scrum penalty to set up a corner lineout, and drove it at pace. Ethan Roots, man of the match in Rome last weekend on his England debut, was judged to have dragged down the maul. Referee James Doleman gave Wales a penalty try and sin-binned Roots.

England scored with 13 men. Lock Maro Itoje trapped Wales flyhalf Ioan Lloyd in front of his posts. From the scrum, No. 8 Ben Earl blasted off the back and cast aside Alex Mann, Lloyd and Cameron Winnett to score.

The powerful try wasn’t converted because Ford was deemed by Doleman to have started his approach and Rio Dyer blocked him. The call looked harsh as Ford wasn’t approaching the ball but still setting up.

Chessum and Roots returned to the field but Wales scored next, near halftime, from 40 meters out in only its second entry into England’s 22. Prop Gareth Thomas, flanker Tommy Reffell, and scrumhalf Tomos Williams sent Mann clear for his second try in his second test. Lloyd converted for 14-5.

England started the second half strong, as well.

Winnett had to make a try-saving tackle on Daly. A Ford penalty made it 14-8.

Wales created a chance when Winnett broke from long range but Dyer couldn’t take the last pass from fellow wing Josh Adams.

England was on top, though. Replacement props Dan Cole and Ellis Genge and scrumhalf Danny Care, who share more than 250 caps, were helping to up the pressure. Care, in tandem with Ford, pinned Wales back with their boots.

When the forwards couldn’t punch in a second try, Ford and Daly worked rookie center Fraser Dingwall over in the left corner. Ford couldn’t convert from the sideline and England trailed by one with 15 minutes to go.

Grady’s error led to Wales conceding a fifth and last penalty and gave Ford the match-winning kick.


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