Cory Hill and Josh Adams scored second-half tries on Saturday as record-breaking Wales came from behind to beat England 21-13 in the Six Nations in Cardiff, Wales, to stay on course for a Grand Slam.
It seemed that England were on course for a clean sweep of their own when they led 13-9 early in the second half, but Wales — in coach Warren Gatland’s final Six Nations in charge before the New Zealander stands down after the World Cup in Japan later this year — hit back in style.
Hill forced his way over for a try before wing Adams caught a pinpoint cross-kick from replacement flyhalf Dan Biggar to go over for a late try that put the result beyond doubt.
Victory also saw Wales, who had been 16-0 behind at halftime in their tournament opener against France before winning 24-19, establish a new national record of 12 successive wins and break a mark that had stood since 1910.
England were seven points ahead at the break thanks to flanker Tom Curry’s converted try and a penalty from captain Owen Farrell, with Wales having to make do with Gareth Anscombe’s penalty.
However, two more penalties from Anscombe early in the second half cut England’s advantage to just a point at 10-9. Farrell nudged the visitors further ahead with a penalty to make it 13-9, only for Hill to put Wales in front for the first time with a 63rd minute score before Adams struck.
This was England’s first defeat in five Tests against Wales since Eddie Jones took over as coach after the 2015 World Cup.
With the Principality Stadium’s retractable roof open, the visitors saw England’s long-range kick specialist, Elliot Daly, push an early 48m effort wide of the left post.
England had scored tries inside the first three minutes of their last five Tests, but in a grueling series of early exchanges the Welsh defense held firm.
Flyhalf Anscombe, selected in place of proven goalkicker Biggar, declined a couple of early penalty shots at goal, preferring to kick for line-outs.
However, a scrappy start to the second half saw prop Kyle Sinckler concede two penalties that Anscombe kicked to cut England’s lead to just a point at 10-9.
Jones then replaced Sinckler with Harry Williams, rather than run the risk of a yellow card or worse for the Harlequins front-rower.
A previously composed England were rattled and Wales, after a sustained period of possession, sent Hill in for a 68th-minute try that Biggar converted. Adams then applied the finishing touch from a cross-kick, which was once again from Biggar.
FRANCE VS SCOTLAND
Flyhalf sensation Romain Ntamack on Saturday fired France to their first victory of this year’s Six Nations with a 27-10 defeat of Scotland to leave the injury-hit visitors without a victory in the French capital in 20 years.
Ntamack was preferred by coach Jacques Brunel in the key playmaking role to Camille Lopez and proved his worth throughout the match, whether in defense or attack.
France had lost 10 of their past 13 games going into the Scotland encounter, having fallen to Wales in their opening championship match before being hammered 44-8 by England.
“Yes, of course satisfaction is our first feeling,” Brunel said. “After the defeat by England, we had to bounce back, and I think we did that today.”
Captain Guilhem Guirado’s promised revolt came as France enjoyed dominance over a poor Scottish side that struggled in the set-piece, desperately missed the creative spark of the injured backline trio of Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg and Huw Jones.
“It’s frustrating to be involved in,” Scotland flanker Magnus Bradbury told the BBC. “I’m sure you saw how many chances we created for ourselves, but we just couldn’t make those final passes stick.”
Ntamack, who made a whopping 15 tackles in the first half, was on hand to finish off the opening try.
The free-running Ramos sparked an electrifying 80m move, stepping past three Scottish defenders and finding Dupont on his inside.
Guirado produced the tackle of the match, pummeling the Scotland flyhalf to the floor, to quell the move and stir the sell-out 78,000-strong crowd into chants of “Allez les Bleus.”
France kicked off the second half in perfect fashion, Mathieu Bastareaud’s chip and chase providing Gael Fickou with a meter of space, No 8 Louis Picamoles offloading before Dupont fired out a pass to Huget and the winger stepping past Scotland fullback Blair Kinghorn for a great try.
Alldritt powered over for two late French tries either side of one for Scotland replacement Ali Price as the game petered out to leave Scotland still looking for their first win in Paris since 1999.
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