RBS Six Nations: Wales beat England 30-3 to end grand slam dreams and win championship
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: March 17, 2013 9:00am
Wales celebrate retaining the Six Nations championship
Wales produced a rousing performance to thwart England's Grand Slam attempt with a record 30-3 victory in Cardiff seeing them steal the Six Nations title.
The Millennium Stadium was rocking from start to finish as Wales pulled out a display full of passion and intensity, but also clinical finishing in the form of winger Alex Cuthbert who went in for two second-half tries.
Wales needed an eight-point win to be absolutely sure of clinching the title from under England's noses, but they got on the front foot from the start and handled the occasion far better than Stuart Lancaster's visitors.
A bone-crunching first half was played at 100 miles per hour for the full 40 minutes, with tackles flying in, but there were just four penalties to show for it on the scoreboard - three from Leigh Halfpenny and one from Owen Farrell making it a 9-3 lead for the hosts.
Wales had success all day at the breakdown and their dominance at the scrum and ruck led to their two tries from Cuthbert, and Dan Biggar added a drop-goal and penalty to stretch the margin of victory.
Wales had the better of the early exchanges, especially at the breakdown, and their higher intensity forced England into giving away an unusually high number of penalties - the first of which Halfpenny converted inside 10 minutes.
Halfpenny booted a kick for 6-0 on 18 minutes after another silly England penalty, but almost immediately Wales did likewise and Farrell converted via the right post.
A third Halfpenny penalty made it 9-3, and Farrell then missed from out on the left as England remained under pressure both at the scrum and the breakdown.
Mike Brown saved England's bacon on the half hour as Biggar picked off Ben Youngs' risky pass and sent George North flying through the middle before Brown's desperate tap tackle brought down the big winger.
Wales were again the aggressors after the restart, with referee Steve Walsh also taking a disliking to the England scrum, but there was nothing wrong with their goal line defence as they held out a concerted Welsh attack through the phases to limit them to another penalty.
The momentum was still with Wales and they made it count with their first try on 57 minutes when the ball came loose at a ruck on halfway. A lightning break ended with Cuthbert proving too fast and strong for Brown and he dived over at the right corner.
Halfpenny missed the conversion but 17-3 was a convincing lead, and a missed penalty from Farrell seemed to sum up England's day as Biggar then slotted a drop-goal to extend Wales' advantage.
Cuthbert was on the end of things again following a powerful Sam Warburton break and clever dummy from Justin Tipuric.
Warburton stepped through a couple of tacklers and stormed 40 metres deep into England territory, and the hosts sensed another try-scoring chance.
Tipuric showed great hands to drop a shoulder before feeding Cuthbert who crossed in almost the identical spot in the right corner to make it 27-3 after Biggar's conversion.
Biggar then added a penalty 10 minutes from the end to start the celebrations early with a record victory over their arch rivals.