By Sarah Mockford at the Millennium Stadium
In a nutshell
UNDOUBTEDLY THE best game of the 2013 Six Nations – ferocious, physical and frantic. Emotions were high, hits were hard and both sides showed attacking intent, but it was Wales who emerged from this title decider as champions – and in emphatic fashion. They grew in confidence in the second half and Alex Cuthbert’s two tries helped Wales complete their biggest-ever win over England and retain the Six Nations title. England simply didn’t have any answers to Wales’ pressure, particularly in attack, as the game wore on.
Justin Tipuric’s quick reactions in the 58th minute saw him pounce on the loose ball after Ken Owens had put the pressure on an isolated Tom Wood. Jonathan Davies then released Alex Cuthbert out wide and the winger beat Mike Brown to score in the corner. From there the momentum was always with Wales and they simply got better.
Star man – Justin Tipuric
The flanker not only set up both tries – he broke through to release Cuthbert for his second – but was a nuisance at the breakdown throughout too. Whether he’s played himself into the Lions Test back row is another matter, but Warren Gatland will surely be pleased to see how well he linked with Sam Warburton on the opposite flank. The switch to six saw Warburton carry more as well as get stuck in at the contact area with Tipuric.
Lions watch – Hot
Mike Phillips – Clearly motivated for this fixture, continually probing with powerful surges and keen to put pace on Wales’ game with quick taps. Solid in defence too.
Adam Jones – Dominated the scrum and those penalties gave Wales the chance to build a lead and then provided the attacking platform to attack England through the backs.
Jamie Roberts – He needed a big game and perhaps the relief of finishing his medical exams allowed him to fire. Sparked to life in the second half and was at his crash-ball best.
Joe Marler – Struggled in the scrummaging contest with Adam Jones and was replaced early in second half. Also failed to make his presence felt in loose.
Ben Youngs – Lacked his usual authority when it came to decision-making and became flustered, allowing Wales to put the pressure on. Outplayed by his opposite number.
Chris Ashton – Things simply aren’t going the winger’s way right now. Far too quiet, few opportunities to attack and the one time he did catch the crowd’s attention it was for stamping.
Jamie Roberts: “Our defence was magnificent. England are a very strong team, very physical and from one to 23 our defence was outstanding. Then from a couple of turnovers we got tries. From the back-room team to all the players to a stadium full of fans – it’s a special day for Welsh rugby.”
Wales – Tries: Cuthbert 2 Cons: Biggar Pens: Halfpenny 4, Biggar DG: Biggar
England – Pen: Farrell