Mon, Aug 06, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Powerful England pack spearhead record victory


Nick Easter scored three tries on Saturday as England's pack dominated Wales in a record 62-5 win in a rugby World Cup warmup.

Easter became the first England No. 8 to score a hat trick of tries -- his first in international rugby -- as Wales' experimental side had little answer to an England team that led 22-0 at halftime.

"A nice solid performance, a good forward pack performance, good defensive performance," Easter said. "There's stuff to work on. We don't want to be the finished article just yet."

Shaun Perry scored two tries, Steve Borthwick, Lawrence Dallaglio, Jason Robinson and Mathew Tait had one each. Flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson had 17 points. Dafydd James scored for Wales.

It was England's largest victory over Wales, beating their 50-10 win in 2002 at Twickenham.

"We've learnt a hard lesson, but it's a lesson that's not impossible to come back from," Wales coach Gareth Jenkins said. "There is no doubt this could have been an emotionally denting performance, and we have to protect ourselves from feeling as poor a side as we looked."

Both coaches used the match to trial players before the Aug. 14 deadline to name squads for the World Cup, which runs from Sept. 7 to Oct. 20 and is staged mainly in France.

Perry help set up the first try in the 14th minute. He burst forward from the back of a scrum, and passed to Easter to burrow across after being brought down close to the tryline.

Easter touched down again in the 20th minute after the England pack drove over the line for a 12-0 lead.

Wilkinson and Andy Sheridan provided the lead-up work for Borthwick to cross under the posts in the 29th minute. Wilkinson converted to stretch England's lead to 19-0, later adding a penalty goal before halftime.

Wales winger Aled Brew was sent to the sin bin for a shoulder charge on Dan Hipkiss, who was making his England debut in the centers alongside Andy Farrell.

Joe Worsley blew an overlap on the tryline early in the second half, but Easter scored his third try with another close-range touchdown in the 46th minute. Four minutes later, Perry drove over for the fifth try.

Easter was taken off in the 58th minute and replaced by veteran Lawrence Dallaglio, who was making his first appearance for England since he went on as a replacement in last year's Six Nations championship.

Moments later, Wales earned their only points when James crossed in the corner. Ceri Sweeney, who was starting at flyhalf for only the second time in three years, missed the conversion.

Dallagalio got on the scoresheet with his 17th England try in the 66th minute, picking up the ball from a scrum and running through Sweeney to score.

Dallaglio set up Perry for his second try, taking England to 50 points and past their previous biggest winning margin against Wales. Robinson then crossed in the corner, and Tait scored under the posts.

England were forced to make two late changes to their lineup.

Scrumhalf Peter Richards withdrew with a back strain, allowing Perry to start. Fullback Mark Cueto injured his groin in the warmup and Tait played at No. 15.

England lost 27-18 to Wales the last time the two teams played.

"We had a real pasting the last time we played them down in Cardiff," Easter said. "And I think that was a real motivation for us."

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