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England Subdue Wales To Reach Autumn Nations Cup Final

England Subdue Wales To Reach Autumn Nations Cup Final

England will host the Autumn Nations Cup final after smothering Wales 2413 through defense and setpiece domination on Saturday.

LLANELLI, Wales: England will host the Autumn Nations Cup final after smothering Wales 24-13 through defense and set-piece domination on Saturday.

The formula was similar to that which overwhelmed Ireland last weekend at Twickenham but Wales was able to force more mistakes and stay in the match far longer.

The new-look Wales side went into the last quarter only five points behind, but forced errors gave up penalties and captain Owen Farrell slotted two to make the result safe and earn England a first victory in Wales since 2017.

England began as a raging 16-point favorite riding a six-match winning streak but even with the return of playmaker George Ford its attack remained subdued, and the final margin was fair as Wales easily gave its best performance in five autumn matches, four of them defeats.

Wales didnt start well. Fullback Leigh Halfpenny dropped the first high ball and Wales was whistled at the first scrum. It didnt take long for referee Romain Poite to believe the Welsh front row was a liability.

Against the run of play, then, Wales scored first in the 10th minute. Flyhalf Dan Biggar charged down England center Henry Slade in his own half, hacked the ball off the right touchline, and midfielder Johnny Williams — who played a non-capped match for England last year — dribbled on and touched down.

Englands reply was quick when it decided not to kick. Wales was swept back and forth until a Maro Itoje inside pass set free flanker Sam Underhill to split open the defense. The ball was recycled left and Farrell put Slade in untouched. Farrell missed his second kick at the posts but nailed his next five.

Farrells second penalty on halftime came after Poite warned the Wales front row it was at risk of a yellow card.

Wales was greeted in the second by another scrum penalty, after which tighthead Samson Lee, battling Kyle Sinckler, was replaced. But the England scrum was still better and a platform for penalties, points and territory.

Underhill and Tom Curry carried Wales No. 8 Taulupe Faletau back over his tryline for an attacking scrum. No. 8 Billy Vunipola was stopped in the right corner by rookie wing Louis Rees-Zammit but older and bigger brother Mako scored after the forwards continued pounding the line.

England led 18-7 but a couple of offsides were punished by Dan Biggar to lift Wales to within five of the visitors with a quarter to go.

Englands reserves were more impactful than Wales, however. They stuck to an expert kick-chase and Farrells third and fourth penalties put England out of reach, even though Wales never looked like winning.


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