Search

Rugby World Cup: Fair play to Wales

14:22 27 September 2015

Wales' Jamie Roberts celebrates after beating England at the Rugby World Cup (pic: David Davies/PA)

Wales' Jamie Roberts celebrates after beating England at the Rugby World Cup (pic: David Davies/PA)

PA/Press Association Images

Big blow for beaten England

Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge sing the National Anthem before the Rugby World Cup match between England and Wales at Twickenham Stadium (pic: Andrew Matthews/PA)Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge sing the National Anthem before the Rugby World Cup match between England and Wales at Twickenham Stadium (pic: Andrew Matthews/PA)

Despite the potential damage to England’s hopes of progressing from the ‘Group of Death’ at this World Cup, victory for Wales at Twickenham was great for the neutral and sporting romantics.

Although not as seismic a shock as Japan’s win over South Africa in the first round of fixtures, the 28-25 Welsh success was still a decent-sized upset given the circumstances.

Sure, it might have spoilt Saturday night for many up and down the land, but hats off to them. I know a few Welshmen who will have been crying into their beer with delight.

English supporters would have felt grateful to see their side going into the match almost at full strength, with only Jonathan Joseph absent after picking up an injury against Fiji, although the inclusion of rugby league convert Sam Burgess in his place was a topic of debate.

Wales' Gareth Davies dives in to score a try against England during the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham Stadium (pic: Andrew Matthews/PA)Wales' Gareth Davies dives in to score a try against England during the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham Stadium (pic: Andrew Matthews/PA)

The Welsh, meanwhile, had been deprived of Leigh Halfpenny, Rhys Webb and Jonathan Davies before the tournamant began, saw Eli Walker ruled out soon after and Cory Allen join the casualty list after scoring a hat-trick against Uruguay.

And before completing their remarkable win over Stuart Lancaster’s men, they lost Liam Williams, Scott Williams and Hallam Amos to more injuries, potentially tournament-ending ones.

To triumph in such adversity deserves huge praise. The Welsh refused to be beaten, even when England led by 10 points with half an hour to go and when they had to reshuffle their back line in the closing stages due to those latest injuries.

Scott Williams admitted in commentary that he had never seen anything like it, as more of his fellow countrymen limped off the field.

Wales' Dan Biggar kicks a penalty against England (pic: Andrew Matthews/PA)Wales' Dan Biggar kicks a penalty against England (pic: Andrew Matthews/PA)

Not many had witnessed the kind of drama that unfolded in those final few minutes, to throw the pool wide open.

Lancaster had earned criticism for picking Owen Farrell ahead of George Ford at fly-half, but the Saracens man was faultless from the kicking tee, converting Jonny May’s first-half try, slotting a pair of penalties and chipping a drop goal to put the hosts 16-9 up at the interval after England had dominated the set-pieces.

Studio guests Jonny Wilkinson and Sir Clive Woodward had predicted a slender England victory before kick-off, while proud Welshman Gareth Thomas tipped a win for his boys.

HRH Prince Harry and Prince William were shown sitting in the stands, taking sibling rivalry to a new level in support of England and Wales, respectively, and all knew there was still plenty to play for in the second half, although two more penalties from Farrell made it 22-12 and looked to be putting England on their way to a key victory.

With his extended pre-kick routine, Dan Biggar (shoulder, fringe, shoulder, wiggle, wriggle) matched Farrell (tilted head, eyes to the posts, head, eyes) kick for kick, though, to keep Wales, dangerously, within one score before the matchwinning moment came nine minutes from time.

I can’t remember at exactly which moment I had said “England are going to lose this” but it had begun to feel sickeningly inevitable during that second half.

An odds-defying win just seemed to be there for the taking for Wales and replacement scrum-half Lloyd Williams, playing as a makeshift winger, kicked infield from the left for number nine Gareth Davies to touch down under the posts.

The simple conversion tied it up, then Biggar smacked the decisive penalty from just inside England’s half after the hosts were penalised by French referee Jerome Garces at the breakdown once again to finish with a record 23 points to his name.

There were still a few minutes for England to get into position for another drop goal attempt, or to force another penalty, which they managed to do albeit out wide by the right touchline.

The decision to turn down the difficult kick at the posts and go for touch instead will be argued long and hard, as unlike Japan, who had gambled in similar fashion against the Springboks before claiming their winning try, England’s lineout could not deliver possession to launch a final attack.

Instead Wales, having waited three years for this moment since the draw was made, worked down the clock before booting the ball gleefully into the stunned Twickenham stands.

Cue the accolades, the criticism, the full post-mortem.

The fact is England will need to beat Australia (comfortable 65-3 winners over Uruguay in their second outing) next weekend – the cricketers managed to beat their rivals this summer – while the walking wounded of Wales take on Fiji, who have upset them at a previous World Cup, don’t forget.

Who would even dare to make any predictions?

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford Sports News

07:00
Joe Widdowson of Dagenham & Redbridge (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Daggers boss John Still to stick with winning team

Yesterday, 17:30
Romford manager Paul Martin (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Ship Lane club have only lost four times in the division this season, but find themselves in the bottom three

Yesterday, 17:20
Essex under-18s face the camera at Stanway (pic: essexfa.com)

Essex 3 Suffolk 1

Yesterday, 17:00
London Raiders defenceman Matt France (pic John Scott)

Defenceman ready for tough weekend

Yesterday, 15:30
Jordan Maguire-Drew of Dagenham & Redbridge celebrates scoring at Bromley (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Daggers winger says support can spur team to success against Tranmere Rovers

Yesterday, 14:30
Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane (right) looks on alongside Mark Holloway (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

Urchins manager urges team to string results together

Yesterday, 13:00
New Hornchurch chairman Alex Sharp with predecessor Colin McBride (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Predecessor McBride praised for work at club

Yesterday, 12:00
An Upminster player prepares to inject a short corner (pic George phillipou/TGS Photo)

Stortford gifted three-goal lead at Coopers

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

VW Golf Estate

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now