Car Rugby at Twickenham (Second Half)
Somehow England prevailed, hanging on grimly in the frenetic closing stages as red shirt after red shirt bore down on them.
It was a rearguard action that will stand them in great stead for a magnificent Wales side threw everything at them.
It will be scant consolation to Wales that they had the better of the play, that they showed such nerve and verve.
Two first-half tries by Jonny May eased England into what looked to be a comfortable lead but Wales were made of stern stuff and rallied superbly, keeping England pointless for an hour.
The conditions dampened bodies but not spirits for the effort was ceaseless and the level of skill quite remarkable with such a wet ball and greasy surface, a treat for the capacity crowd.
First the talk, then the walk for England, another milestone notched en route to the defence of their Six Nations crown.
Such a wet day was made for the likes of Mike Brown, implacable as ever at the rear who was one of the outstanding performers.
The orchestrated comments from Eddie Jones were designed more to put pressure on his own players than destabilise the opposition who would come at England with greater prove-him-wrong ferocity.
In that regard, dealing with this sort of fired-up Wales is just the sort of test Jones wanted to have his men deal with.
Three years ago in the World Cup pool game at Twickenham England shriveled at the clutch moment.
They held firm this time, only just perhaps, but just is quite enough.
Once again, Owen Farrell showed just why he is such an asset to any team.
He is smart, alert and more layered than he is given credit for.
As he did in Rome in working off George Ford, he broke through the gain line time and again.
His vision, though, is what sets him apart, allied to a competitive zeal that means he is always what rugby match is on at twickenham today, always demanding.
Farrell is the beating heart of this England team.
Farrell threaded the ball through as if it were Glenn Hoddle in his pomp, a turbo-charged May collecting just before the try line and sliding over.
It was feisty and unrelenting throughout with one all-in dust-up after the half our mark almost inevitable given the tension of the build-up.
The what rugby match is on at twickenham today talk had no discernible impact on either Wales fly-half, Rhys Patchell or captain, Alun Wyn Jones.
Patchell did miss his first pot from 43 metres but landed his next effort.
Patchell had a mixed time of things and certainly did not lack nerve before being replaced by George North in the 55 th minute.
Care has acquired box-kicking skill and certainly needed it in the conditions.
Sam Simmonds and Joe Launchbury played critical roles, picking and going at key junctures, Launchbury then proving the coup de grace with a lovely inside ball to May for the score.
If it is Maro Itoje that catches the eye with his athletic involvements then it is Launchbury who is the foundation stone of the England pack: a ceaseless worker and an astute judge.
They had an edge in the tight scrummage and were a nuisance in the lineout.
They came close, very close, to a try in the 23 rd minute only for the TMO to rule against what looked to the naked eye as a legitimate touchdown from Anscombe.
They had an edge in the scrum and contested the breakdown with real zeal through Aaron Shingler and Josh Navidi.
Shingler was prominent with one memorable 50metre bust upfield causing alarm bells to ring in the England defence.
Even though England had a decent 12-3 lead at half-time, the contest was much closer than the scoreboard suggested.
Wales now the only team to have out-scored England in the second half across 25 Test matches of the Jones era.
And they've done it twice.
An extremely resilient, fit side.
Wales grew in stature, England helping their cause with errors of their own.
A loose pass from Care put pressure on his own defence, a position from which Wales came so close to scoring on the hour mark.
Only a brilliant cover tackle from Sam Underhill on Scott Williams as the outside centre slid to the try-line saved the day for England.
It was a moment of high-quality play from Underhill, never accepting the inevitability of the score.
Wales kept coming, England kept resisting.
Somehow England held on.
It was rousing stuff all round.
The wording was the grounding wasn't clear but we can clearly see his hand on it.
That's a big moment in the game, especially to get it wrong in front of 82,000.
The good thing is we're getting good at winning those sorts of games.
Wales are a tough team and full credit to them.
We had a couple of grubbers into the corner that if they had bounced the other way.
Have England held Navidi up?
No but the ball's lost forward!
Booted to touch by Farrell and England get the win!
What a scrap, Wales pushed them all the way.
Wales still looking for the line break, not coming yet.
That's now 20 phases, Wales just outside their own 22.
They need something special.
Loose pass and Anscombe is swamped.
Te'o with a high tackle, advantage Wales.
Wales kick to touch to their own 10-metre line, clock now red.
Wales starting from deep, looking to get it wide.
They're out of the 22, really gutsy effort this from Wales, trying to crack England's defence.
Wales at last within a score of the lead.
England not rushing the restart.
They've had their chances to finish this off and failed to take them.
George hits Kruis at the tail of the lineout.
England trying to get the maul going.
Itoje down, Anscombe running up to England's 22!
Still tons of fight.
Penalty Wales on England's 22.
What will they do?
They're taking the three.
High kick by Farrell taken well by Anscombe, but Brown forces him into touch.
Just enough contact on the line.
England with a promising lineout.
Swing Low ringing around the ground as England press Wales.
Five metres short, loudest the ground has been perhaps in this match.
Massive turnover though from Francis as Wales hang on.
Drop from Ford allows Wales to pounce.
That'll be Ford's last act, replaced by Te'o as Farrell goes to 10.
Launchbury also off now, what a shift, replaced by Kruis.
Try-saving tackle by Underhill on Williams!
The centre dives low, the right call you'd think after Wales break, but Underhill puts in a superhuman effort to knock him into touch.
England lineout five metres from their line.
Loose ball at the back of the England ruck pounced on by Francis, chance for Wales to counter.
Evans with an in-field chip that Brown fields well.
All a bit scrappy as Ford punches it downfield.
Anscombe having a really bright couple of minutes, pinning England back again, before Farrell comes up with a huge turnover.
Wales upping the pressure as we hit the 60-minute mark.
Quality clearance kick from Ford.
Wyn Jones on at prop for Evans.
Promising surge for Wales but a knock-on kills off the attack what rugby match is on at twickenham today a cute Anscombe chip.
Patchell going off for Wales, North on.
That means Anscombe will move to fly-half, Adams heading to full-back.
Needless error from Patchell, whose floaty pop pass ends in an interception for Jonathan Joseph and a rollicking England attack.
Nowell gives away a penalty for rucking off his feet, which is a let off.
Wales turn the scrum and win a penalty which Patchell thumps forward for another attacking line-out.
In the meantime, Dylan Hartley comes off for Jamie George.
Jack Nowell powers forward but there's a turnover at the ruck combined with a knock on, it seems and Wales end up with a scrum.
It's cagey stuff, this.
Clean break from Aaron Shingler!
The Scarlets forward bursts through the England defence but looks lost in acres of space, attempting a little grubber kick which is easily gobbled up by a rush of white shirts.
England give away a penalty for not rolling away in the middle of the park, with Rhys Patchell kicking for territory.
The line-out's not straight, which is a waste from Wales.
England play through the phases, grinding Wales down with a gruelling pick-and-go attack.
The tactic almost pays dividends after a sudden passing burst sees Anthony Watson skip through on the right flank, but the visitors scramble their defence and a knock on eases the pressure.
The last time Wales came back to win against England from a deficit of nine points or more at half-time was in 2008, when they trailed 16-6 to England after 40 minutes only to claim a 19-26 victory.
Can they repeat the trick?
Wales plodding out the end of the first half, Farrell piling on the pressure, as England tidy up eventually after a scrap for the ball.
Care goes high, clock is in red but Adams takes it under some heat.
Wales chip to touch and that's that - two tries for May and England early in the half before Wales forced their way.
Couple of penalties kicked to touch by Patchell rather than the posts could prove to be telling, but it's a real scrap in the wet.
Second half coming up.
Work-rate of Launchbury, Lawes, Itoje and Robshaw currently swinging this for England.
Intense at every ruck, trying to force Welsh errors.
Another good catch and run by Brown as England clear to touch.
Wales now five out after the maul comes apart, Moriarty driven back.
Wales must strike here.
Wide pass to Parkes by Patchell, England covering.
Good run by Alun Wyn and then Wales knock on.
That's a killer from Lee.
That settles down eventually - Alun Wyn had about five England players on him - and Wales kick to the corner off the penalty.
No Halfpenny, no long-range shots?
You can tell a great deal about a side's fitness between 30 and 40 minutes.
Wales have absorbed a lot of punishment and still look energetic.
Joseph snaffling that one and pinning Wales back with a kick.
Davies does well with a box kick, better chase from Wales this time.
Farrell kicking high, Anscombe comes away with it.
Nice offload from Alun Wyn to Davies, Wales get a penalty for the scrum-half being taken out by Hartley, and then it all spills over!
Jonny May goes over for his second of the match after a lovely floated offload by Launchbury.
Errors creeping in as Brown puts a ball down, under pressure from Adams.
He's been busy - not sure Wales should be directing kicks in his direction.
Bit of claret for the England skipper.
Bit of relief for Wales before Lawes comes up with a superb turnover.
Ford kicks over Patchell, nicely stepping Watson, before Adams clears.
Wales stuck in their half.
Farrell has been absolutely outstanding.
Another quality kick pins Wales back towards their five-metre line.
Wales go quick at the lineout, well executed, and clear through Patchell but not to touch.
Brown back to the Wales 22.
No control according to the TMO.
Wales have a penalty and will take a shot.
The debate here is if the chip came off Evans' knee or his hand.
It seems to, meaning there's no knock-on, before Anscombe and Watson dive for the ball.
Who got there first?
Catch and drive from Wales but the maul is halted.
Patchell swamped by Joseph but gets the ball back.
Wales ten metres out, Itoje off his feet now.
Patchell chips to the corner.
Wales think they've scored!
TMO to have a look.
No mistake that time from Farrell.
England's lead now 12 points and deservedly so too after going through that many phases.
Watson gets England over the 22, followed by a Care snipe.
Farrell then crunched back by Moriarty but this is promising for England.
Up to 15 phases, five metres short.
Penalty advantage for England, lots of quick ball at the ruck.
Now over 20 phases.
Finally England crack them open wide on the left, looping pass gather by Launchbury who flicks inside to May for his second!
England's defence holding firm, Wales getting through a few phases before Lee goes off his feet.
Touch found by England just outside the Wales' 22.
Not the sharpest exchange from England as Ford's cross-field kick is well fielded by Anscombe.
Box kick from Davies falls to Joseph, Ford then hoofing that downfield.
Care finds touch after the return kick, Wales lineout on England's 10-metre line.
More possession for England without gaining much ground, before Wales win the turnover.
Brown isolated as Owens pounced.
George's first lineout is stolen by Jones.
Parkes kicks long to touch to get Wales out of what rugby match is on at twickenham today tricky position.
England back on the attack though, Farrell chasing a Ford chip.
Farrell then hooks a kick May's way on the wing but he can't regain possession.
Lineout to Wales, Hartley back on.
England on the attack now inside Wales' half, Joseph cutting back in.
Kicked long but Hill gets a hand too it.
Both sides trying to settle down and find some territory, Watson with an assured take.
Hartley yet to return by the way.
Ford then threads the ball in behind and what rugby match is on at twickenham today Evans to find a short touch.
Conversion wide right from Farrell, who wasn't at his most accurate against Italy either last Sunday.
Watson wins the ball back under a high kick and Farrell threads a brilliantly weighted kick across the field into acres of space.
May stays what rugby match on twickenham today and has nothing but grass ahead of him, times his slide and goes over.
Perfectly weighted through ball by Farrell sees May slide in for his first ever NatWest 6 Nations try.
England with a 22 dropout.
We're off, early spill by Watson handing Wales possession in England's half.
Hartley then penalised for a no-arms tackle and he's heading off for an HIA, George on.
In fact the penalty advantage was over, but Wales get a scrum.
Four tries last week against Scotland and Will Greenwood has been impressed by the strides Wales have made in attack.
If England have the dynamic power, then the Welsh have ball skills.
My jaw dropped with some of the Welsh handling both behind the scrum and, more importantly, in their pack.
It is a real point of difference for Wales and I would mark them out as the leaders in the northern hemisphere in a full-court, running game where forwards can interlink with backs.
Maggie Alphonsi here today between the two British and Irish Lions locks.
Owen Watkin is named on the bench.
Here's how the Wales skipper responded.
Here's Charlie Morgan with some top analysis on how much Jonathan Joseph and attack, after he got the nod this week A take from Paul Hayward on the extra bit of flavour added to the Anglo-Welsh feud Eddie Jones v Warren Gatland is a sub-plot so heated that the game has seemed incidental in a week of verbal jab-and-move.
There are striking similarities between them.
Both are peripatetic former hookers who fell short of Test-match grade; each has worked his way up from the bottom to achieve transformative outcomes.
Wales have requested that the roof be closed at Twickenham Stadium this afternoon and are currently awaiting a response.
For those who aren't aware, Leigh Halfpenny is a late withdrawal due to a foot injection at full-back for the visitors, with Gareth Anscombe getting the nod in the 15 shirt.
England are yet to lose at home under Eddie Jones since he took over at the start of 2016, while Wales are missing a number of key British and Irish Lions throughout their side in Sam Warburton, Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams and now Halfpenny among others.
They were hugely impressive however last week against Scotland, scoring four tries, with fly-half Rhys Patchell, in for Dan Biggar, Aaron Shingler and Josh Navidi all standout performers.
England however will be a far sterner Test.
By the way, it's bucketing it down at Twickenham, so expect plenty of scrums what rugby match is on at twickenham today kicking.
Owen Watkin is named on the bench.
Patchell looks the part England boss Eddie Jones has publicly queried whether Wales fly-half Patchell has "the bottle" for a high-octane occasion such as Saturday's Twickenham showdown.
But the gifted back has not been found wanting in his career so far, highlighted by him helping the Scarlets to PRO12 title glory last term and this season's European Champions Cup quarter-finals.
Has Eddie gone too far?
Having repeatedly placed the crosshairs over Patchell, Jones turned his attention to Alun Wyn Jones by accusing the Wales captain of attempting to intimidate referee Pascal Gauzere during last Saturday's win over Scotland.
World Rugby are satisfied that no line has been crossed, but it is a charge that some commentators have laid against Jones for singling out two individuals from the opposition for his mind games.
Twickenham pressure cooker If England lose, Jones' attempt to unsettle Wales will have backfired but the tactic is surely as much to test his own players as to sow the seed of doubt in the minds of Warren Gatland's men.
The Australian prefaced last autumn's series by saying he wants to introduce "chaos in the house", propelling his squad out of their comfort zone to steel them for the challenges in store at the what rugby match is on at twickenham today World Cup.
How they react to a Wales side seething at his taunts will give an insight into how they respond to pressure.
Twickenham factor unlikely to faze Wales England are unbeaten at Twickenham under Jones and have also won their last 14 Six Nations Tests there.
Wales, though, will not be what rugby match is on at twickenham today by the task ahead, having toppled England three times on home soil during Warren Gatland's coaching reign - twice in the Six Nations and also claiming a dramatic 2015 World Cup pool win.
England's last Six Nations home defeat was six years ago - against Wales.
Backing up Scotland Wales were magnificent as they overran Scotland 34-7 in Cardiff, launching their title quest with a conclusive performance despite the absence of a host of Test British and Irish Lions.
It blew the Scots' own pretensions of seizing England's crown out of the water, but playing against the champions at Twickenham is a different proposition.
Just how good is Gatland's Scarlets-inspired Wales?
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England vs Australia
Stay up to date with all of the live action from the England v Wales match in the NatWest 6 Nations Championship on Saturday 10th February at 16:45 GMT. Follow the LiveBlog for up-to-date information.
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