x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Wales collect 'a scalp' at England's expense

James Hook inspired Wales to victory over England with a haul of 13 points and the game's only try in a Rugby World Cup warm-up at Cardiff.

Huw Bennett, left, raises his arms in celebration of Wales' 19-9 victory over England in a warm-up to the Rugby World Cup at Cardiff.
Huw Bennett, left, raises his arms in celebration of Wales' 19-9 victory over England in a warm-up to the Rugby World Cup at Cardiff.

James Hook inspired Wales to 19-9 victory over England with a haul of 13 points and the game's only try in the World Cup warm-up game in Cardiff Saturday.

Hook's touchdown on 58 minutes punished the English, who had enjoyed the majority of the possession but failed to make use of it

"It's always good to get a scalp like the English," Sam Warburton, the Wales captain, said.

"We couldn't go to the World Cup having been beaten by them three times this year.

"We scrapped really well, and I am really proud of the guys."

Martin Johnson, the England manager, could barely hide his frustration after seeing his side's World Cup preparations receive a jolt as they failed to capitalise on their dominance at the Millennium Stadium.

The visitors had the game in a vice-like grip during the opening half, when the home side were forced to make twice as many tackles, putting the Welsh set-piece under huge pressure and spending the majority of the first 40 minutes in the Wales 22.

But they failed to make the most of an impressive pack performance as they went in 6-6 at half-time, England's Toby Flood and Wales' Rhys Priestland kicking two penalties apiece.

Johnson conceded the display in their final warm-up game before he names his 30-man squad was not good enough.

"I am disappointed," he said. "It was the strangest game I have seen I think, to dominate a game so much in the first half and go in at 6-6, and let it get away from us like we did in the second half is disappointing.

"It is where it is in the scheme of things but it was pretty frustrating to say the least. You come in and work for big Test matches and you should not let games like that go.

"Both sides made errors, it's that time of year, but its annoying. I've not lost sight of the bigger picture but it does not help your emotions straight after the game.

"To have that much of the game and be 6-6, if we had kicked on and squeezed them the opportunities would have come, but we let it slip away."

But Johnson insisted that his side had created more than enough chances to win. He said: "We made mistakes and did not score points when we were down there, it's pretty simple.

At Churchill Park in Wellington, New Zealand, Fiji scored three first-half tries as they beat neighbouring Tonga 27-12 in a World Cup warm-up.

Elsewhere, Salvatore Perugini's World Cup participation has been thrown into doubt after the Italy prop pulled a hamstring in training.