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England edge Wales despite two yellow cards

MATCH REPORT: England overturned a nine-point half-time deficit to beat Wales 16-14 at Twickenham on Saturday to make it two wins out of two in the Six Nations.

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The hosts, down to 13 men early on after two yellow cards, had been 5-14 behind at the break following a Wales penalty try and a try for Alex Mann either side of a score by England No.8 Ben Earl.

But a George Ford penalty and a try from centre Fraser Dingwall left England just a point adrift at 13-14.

Ford then landed another penalty to make it 16-14 with eight minutes left as England led for the first time in the match.

England could not turn their early pressure into points, with centre Henry Slade knocking on just five metres out from Wales’ try-line.

Lock Ollie Chessum saw yellow for a high tackle on Wales prop Keiron Assiratti and it was Wales who took the lead with a 17th-minute penalty try.

Down to 13

To make matters worse for England, they lost a second player to the sin-bin in the process when flank Ethan Roots was yellow-carded for pulling down a maul near his own line.

Minutes later, however, 13-man England hit back when Earl broke off the back of a scrum and powered through the challenges of Mann, Ioan Lloyd and Cameron Winnett.

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But what should have been a routine conversion for Ford ended with his kick charged down by Rio Dyer.

Wales were now 7-5 ahead and they pulled further clear with a second try two minutes before the break.

England scrumhalf Alex Mitchell’s careless volleyed kick clearance allowed Wales to regain possession.

Wales openside Tommy Reffell was in support and he found scrumhalf Tomos Williams, whose clever inside ball allowed blindside flank Mann, making his first Test start, to burst through the cover for a try after he scored as a replacement on debut against Scotland.

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Lloyd converted and Wales led by nine points at the break.

England attacked from a line-out early in the second half but a cross-field move ended with Elliot Daly well-tackled into touch near Wales’ line by Dyer before Ford’s routine penalty cut the deficit.

Wales should have extended their lead but a fine counter-attack ended with Dyer knocking on in sight of a try.

England though were starting to gain an edge at the scrum and they won a penalty from the set-piece.

Ford kicked for an attacking line-out and the ball was eventually worked left to Dingwall, with the centre going in at the corner.

Ford couldn’t convert but Wales now led by just a point.

But it was Ford’s well-judged 50-22 kick that gave England an attacking line-out with 10 minutes left.

Wales replacement Mason Grady was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on and Ford landed the simple ensuing penalty from in front of the posts to edge England ahead with the last score of the game.

Man of the match: England No.8 Ben Earl was a standout for his team, making the most carries for Steve Borthwick’s men and scoring a try. However, despite being on the losing side, our nod goes to Wales flank Tommy Reffell. The loose forward was world-class, he made 14 tackles and won a couple of turnovers. Truly a vital cog in Wales’ set-up

Tries:

For England:
Tries: Earl, Dingwall
Con: Ford
Pens: Ford 2

For Wales:
Tries: Penalty try, Mann
Cons: Penalty try does not require a conversion, Lloyd

Yellow cards: Ollie Chessum (England, 11 – dangerous tackle, head contact); Ethan Roots (England, 17 – collapsing the maul), Mason Grady (Wales, 70 – deliberate knock-on)

Teams: 

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Tommy Freeman, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Fraser Dingwall, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Ethan Roots, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Jamie George (captain), 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Chandler Cunningham-South, 21 Danny Care, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso.

Wales: 15 Cameron Winnett, 14 Josh Adams, 13 George North, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Ioan Lloyd, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Alex Mann, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Dafydd Jenkins (captain), 3 Keiron Assiratti, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Archie Griffin, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Cai Evans, 23 Mason Grady.

Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Hollie Davidson (Scotland)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

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