Six Nations: England beat Wales at Twickenham to win Triple Crown
Last Updated: 09/03/14 11:21pm
Luther Burrell scores England's second try
England beat Wales 29-18 at Twickenham to claim their first Six Nations Triple Crown for 11 years and avenge last season's humbling in Cardiff.
A win in Italy next weekend could yet earn England the title, but with Wales set to be World Cup opponents in 18 months' time, this dominant victory is probably of greater significance.
England scored two tries through Danny Care and Luther Burrell, while Owen Farrell was flawless with the boot, kicking two conversions and five penalties.
Wales struggled to build an attacking platform and had to rely on six penalties from the immaculate Leigh Halfpenny to retain a foothold in the contest.
Wales' woeful kicking strategy and tendency to concede penalties at regular intervals played into English hands, yet the hosts also possessed the game's sharpest attacking forces in Care and full-back Mike Brown.
England should arguably have won by more than they did as their impressive upward curve under Lancaster continues, but for Wales, it is back to the drawing board.
England, as if spurred on by their Millennium Stadium horror show of 12 months ago, blasted from the starting blocks and were ahead after just five minutes.
It took a superb tackle by Wales skipper Sam Warburton on his opposite number Robshaw to initially thwart England following prop David Wilson's break, but when the visitors then infringed, Care caught them napping.
Wales were asleep defensively, and no-one laid a finger on Care as he scampered over following his quick tap penalty, with Farrell's conversion making it 7-0. It was England's first try against Wales since August 2011.
Halfpenny cut the deficit through an eighth-minute penalty, but Wales should have wiped it out completely when wing George North broke free, but he ignored an unmarked Dan Lydiate outside him and kicked into touch instead.
It was a dreadful option by North, and England regained a seven-point advantage after Wales conceded a scrum penalty with Farrell punishing them from 40 metres out.
Although Halfpenny maintained his 100 per cent accuracy by kicking a third penalty, this time from halfway, Wales then imploded after a lineout inside their own 22.
Hooker Richard Hibbard's off-target throw gave England an attacking opportunity, and they ruthlessly punished Wales when centre Billy Twelvetrees' superbly-placed kick was gathered by Burrell for his third try in four Six Nations games this season.
Farrell effortlessly landed the touchline conversion, before Wales were again indebted to Halfpenny, whose fourth successful penalty made it 20-12 and at least retained a glimmer of hope for the misfiring visitors that they could turn around a game England had dominated.
And that optimism increased on the stroke of half-time when Halfpenny landed another long-range strike after England wing Jonny May was harshly penalised for a challenge on Jamie Roberts in the air.
Given how much England had dominated, Wales still trooped off just five points adrift in a game that had shades of their 1999 victory over England at Wembley.
On that occasion Wales were outplayed for 40 minutes, but Neil Jenkins' boot kept them in it and they went on to win.
Wales needed a strong third quarter, yet it went England's way as two further Farrell penalties opened up an 11-point advantage and the visitors saw prop Gethin Jenkins sin-binned for a second successive match.
Referee Romain Poite's patience with the scrum finally snapped, and prop Gethin Jenkins, who was equalling Stephen Jones' Wales cap record of 104, received a yellow card at a critical time in the contest.
Another Halfpenny penalty - his sixth - clawed Wales back to 26-18 behind, before Farrell closed the game out with his fifth successful strike, and Burrell was narrowly denied his second try after his foot brushed the touchline following a scintillating England move.
Six Nations 2014: England v Wales
Wales will contact the International Rugby Board to seek "clarity" over scrums following their defeat to England.
For the first time in 11 years, England look capable of winning the World Cup, says Stuart Barnes.
Chris Robshaw hailed England's fantastic Triple Crown victory after Wales were crushed 29-18 at Twickenham.
- Lancaster: It was our day
- Ben 'happy to be marked man'
- Catt: No surprises from Wales
- Jenkins: All on line for Wales
- North relishing the challenge
- Brown fired up for Wales
- Howley urges Wales to improve
- England v Wales: Teams
- Lancaster: Time to deliver
- Warburton: No England hatred
- Aerial battles
- England make one change
- Sound of silence
- Robshaw rallies England
- Mako on a mission
- Running on empty?
- Warburton: We have a job to do
- Johnson set for bench duty
- Hartley: Rally around Wilson
- Davies to start for Wales
- Nowell: Wales 'hate' England
- Hartley names Wales 'targets'
- Edwards expects Manu return
- Rowntree: Lawes now a leader
- Title essential for Lancaster