England hold off Welsh comeback for 23-19 victory

LONDON : The goalkicking of flyhalf Marcus Smith ensured that England survived a second-half surge by Wales to triumph 23-19 at Twickenham on Saturday to stay in the hunt for the Six Nations title – and effectively end Welsh hopes of retaining it.

England had much the best of a scruffy first half and deservedly led 12-0 with four Smith penalties and it looked all over when Number Eight Alex Dombrandt charged over to make it 17-0 soon after the restart.

Wales finally found their attacking cohesion and scored good tries through Josh Adams and Nick Tompkins to close the gap to five points, but England regained control and Smith took them clear with two more superbly-struck kicks.

Wales had the last word with a converted Kieran Hardy try that set up a nervous last few minutes for the home fans but England escaped.

The win takes second-placed England to 10 points, four behind France, who beat Scotland 36-17 at Murrayfield earlier to make it three wins from three. Wales, who lost their opening game to Ireland, have five points.

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips; editing by Pritha Sarkar)


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