by Reece Chambers at the Principality Stadium
A huge defensive effort from Warren Gatland’s Wales saw them defeat England 13-6 at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.
After last week’s disappointing performance at Twickenham, Wales will be happy to have defeated an impressive England side.
With over 79,000 fans packed into the Prinicipality Stadium, Saturday’s game felt much less likely a warm-up match and much more like a Six Nations match-up.
The win for Wales sees them top the official world rankings, overtaking New Zealand who have held the top spot for a number of years.
With the World Cup just around the corner, Head of Sport Reece Chambers outlines three lessons learnt from this Rugby World Cup warm-up…
Biggar impressive at 10
With Gareth Anscombe ruled out of the World Cup, Wales will be relying on the services of Dan Biggar at fly-half. The Welshman starred today for Wales in a man of the match performance.
His ability to change the game with his wand of a right boot proved vital again today. He put the English back three under pressure on several occasions.
Biggar proved to be the match-winner today when he seized the initiative to catch the English defence off-guard. A smart break down the right wing allowed Wales to capitalise on a napping English defence.
If Wales are to have a chance of competing with the likes of Australia and New Zealand at the World Cup in Japan, they be relying on Biggar to provide similar performances like he had today.
There’s no such thing as a warm-up
It might be stating the obvious to say that Wales versus England will never be a quiet encounter. A sold-out Principality Stadium made this World Cup warm-up feel more like an actual World Cup encounter.
The players certainly showed no signs of letting up in the lead up to Japan. Alun-wyn Jones, of course, was at the centre of it all again today. The Welsh captain wears the national jersey with pride, and certainly won’t let England come onto his manor and have their own way.
Notable scuffles between the Welsh captain and a number of English players showed just how important this fixture is to everyone involved.
Farrell crucial to English success
Owen Farrell was introduced into the game in the 53rd minute, coming on at 12 for Piers Francis. The Saracens back proved yet again how important he is to his country, helping to shift the momentum of the game throughout the second-half.
His ability to work at 10 or 12 provides Eddie Jones with some food for thought ahead of the World Cup. The passing abilities of Farrell can work well at both 10 and 12, but his combination play with George Ford today looked promising.
Similar to Biggar for Wales, it may well be a case of having Farrell firing on all cylinders if England are to go far in Japan. What Jones might have a headache with is the way in which he uses Farrell and gets the very best out of him at crucial moments.