x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Six Nations: Wales 'chuffed' after title win and denying England a Grand Slam

The hosts needed to win by at least an eight-point margin to secure the Six Nations crown but dominated proceedings against an out-of-sorts England side.

Alex Cuthbert of Wales goes past Mike Brown and Danny Care of England at the Millennium Stadium. Alex Livesey / Getty Images
Alex Cuthbert of Wales goes past Mike Brown and Danny Care of England at the Millennium Stadium. Alex Livesey / Getty Images

CARDIFF // The Wales flanker Justin Tipuric said he felt he was dreaming after they retained the Six Nations title with a 30-3 defeat of England at the Millennium Stadium.

The hosts needed to win by at least an eight-point margin to secure the Six Nations crown but dominated proceedings against an out-of-sorts England side.

Wales' biggest-ever Six Nations win over England was just reward for an attacking display, underlined by two tries from Alex Cuthbert and man-of-the-match Tipuric felt teamwork was at the heart of the win.

"It is a bit unreal really, it is a dream to be honest," he told BBC Sport. "We played so well in front of a great crowd and our boys were outstanding and worked so hard for each other.

"We know what we can do and we have been ready since Monday and to turn up Saturday and with such a great performance ... we are chuffed to bits."

Success in the competition seemed to be a pipe dream for Wales after a poor start to their opening fixture against Ireland.

But Tipuric believes the sluggish start, and resulting criticism, spurred the team on.

"We had a lot of bad media but I think it gave us a bit of a kick up the backside," he added.

"We kept tight and we just worked so hard in training."

Leigh Halfpenny kicked 12 points and Dan Biggar contributed eight, including a drop goal, as Wales scored 21 unanswered points after the interval to eclipse their previous biggest win against England of 25-0, which had stood for 108 years.

England established early territory with a driving line-out and then moved the ball wide quickly, but Manu Tuilagi, with a gap in the Welsh defence open in front of him, spilt Owen Farrell's pass forwards.

But England committed too many careless penalties that just invited pressure, and Halfpenny kicked Wales into the lead after Joe Marler was penalised for not rolling away at the base of a ruck.

Then Chris Ashton was penalised for going in at the side and although Farrell responded with a successful first strike at goal England's scrum was penalised and Halfpenny made no mistake to give Wales a 9-3 lead.

In the second half the Welsh scrum won consecutive penalties and Alex Goode then heightened the pressure on England by kicking his clearance out on the full, and Wales laid siege on their opponents' line.

Jamie Robert, Ian Evans, Richard Hibbard and Mike Phillips all drove close and were repelled by an England defence that had made 95 tackles to Wales' 48 after just 50 minutes.

Halfpenny slotted over another penalty when England were caught offside and they were punished when Tom Wood was turned over and Wales capitalised with Cuthbert scoring a try.

Then Wales turned the screw, with Biggar landing a drop goal, before Sam Warburton then galloped through a hole in the England defence to set up the platform for Wales' second try which was finished brilliantly in the corner again by Cuthbert.

Biggar extended the lead to a record margin with a penalty as Wales successfully retained the title for the first time since 1979.

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