England edge past Wales
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs quartet Sam Simmonds, Jack Nowell, Harry Williams and Alec Hepburn all featured as England saw off Wales 12-6 to make it back-to-back victories in this season’s NatWest Six Nations Championship at Twickenham.
No.8 Simmonds played the opening 40 minutes before he was forced off at the break with injury, while Nowell, Williams and Hepburn all came off the bench in the second period.
Club-mate Tomas Francis, who lined up in the opposition ranks, also appeared during the second half, replacing Welsh prop Samson Lee just before the hour mark.
Post-match, England head coach Eddie Jones paid tribute to his side for winning their ‘arm wrestle’ against the Welsh.
Leicester Tigers winger Jonny May scored two tries with an Owen Farrell conversion giving them a 24th win in 25 matches under Jones.
“It’s a win built around courage and belief,” said Jones.“We knew we had to play a certain way to beat Wales today and I thought the execution by the players was absolutely outstanding. Their application and courage in defence was first class.
"I never thought it was going to be a routine victory. Wales are a good, tough side and they're well coached so we always expected it to be a cut and thrust sort of game.
"It would have been nice to put them away earlier but full credit they defended well. We got inside their 22 on a number of occasions but we just couldn't find a way to unlock their defence. We know we can be in an arm wrestle, we can hang on in there and we can find a way to win.”
But whilst Jones was happy with his side’s latest success, Welsh head coach Warren Gatland hit out at what he described as a ”terrible mistake" not to award Wales a first-half try.
Gareth Anscombe appeared to hand the visitors a lifeline when he crossed the line with his side trailing 12-0, but television match official Glenn Newman controversially ruled out the score.
Anscombe appeared to exert downward pressure on the ball with an outstretched hand, but Newman disagreed, and Gatland believed the decision may have cost Wales victory.
“It looked like a try to me,” Gatland said. “It is disappointing that you get that decision wrong. “It is a pivotal moment in the game. The TMO has one big call to make and he has made a terrible mistake. At this level it is pretty disappointing. Not to be given what we thought was a legitimate try was a massive moment.
“I struggled with the wording [from the TMO]. He said that England got there first and there was no downward pressure from Wales. I saw that differently. There was clearly downward pressure, and at this level, in front of 82,000 people, when there is a lot at stake, you have to get those decisions right."
Asked if he will issue a formal complaint about the decision, Gatland replied: “I will just get clarity. You cannot do anything about it. It is a decision that has gone against us.”