A well deserved victory

Gavin Henson took another step closer to a place on the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand with a commanding performance for Wales against England. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Gavin Henson took another step closer to a place on the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand with a commanding performance for Wales against England.

Centre Henson struck the towering winning penalty four minutes from time to win the game for Wales, and he was magnificent throughout.

And no-one could say Wales did not deserve their victory – or the impromptu lap of honour which prompted the wildest of celebrations.

For England it was their seventh defeat in 12 matches since the World Cup and that invincible tag has well and truly disappeared.

There was never any doubting the Welsh fire, not from the moment they were led onto the field by Paralympian gold medallist Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson to listen to a stirring rendition of ‘Land of my Fathers’ by Aled Jones, Bryn Terfel and Katherine Jenkins.

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It had taken Wales just 10 minutes to put the first points on the scoreboard and they came courtesy of a dreadful line-out throw by England hooker Steve Thompson.

Thompson’s overthrow was picked up gratefully by Welsh flanker Martyn Williams and the ball was spun right and then left across the threequarter line in a blur of passes which ended with left-wing Shane Williams skidding over in the corner.

Charlie Hodgson slotted a 15th-minute penalty for England to reduce the arrears.
But England lacked authority. Wales were making inroads up front where for so long England had been dominant.

The makeshift back row of Joe Worsley, Andy Hazell and Chris Jones were struggling and it was no surprise when the constant Welsh pressure resulted in a Stephen Jones penalty.
The second-half action was tense and fraught but the error count was rising and running rugby was at a premium.

The England pack eventually, however, began to assert some authority. The white shirts began to inch forward more regularly and in the 70th minute Hodgson landed his third penalty to put England in front for the first time.

Only a crunching tackle from Josh Lewsey on Gareth Thomas, however, saved a try as the Welsh mounted a stirring finale.

And then came that roar, which greeted Henson’s penalty in the 76th minute and guided Wales home to a deserved victory.

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