RUGBY WORLD CUP POOL A: Wales secure bragging rights with late win over England

Wales' Jamie Roberts celebrates after the win over England
Wales' Jamie Roberts celebrates after the win over England


Captain Sam Warburton was almost lost for words after helping his depleted Wales side come from behind to seal a precious World Cup victory over England at Twickenham.

Wales trailed for the majority of the match, including 19-9 shortly after half-time, and saw key players Scott Williams and Liam Williams stretchered off in the closing stages, yet they found incredible levels of fortitude to earn a memorable 28-25 win.

Warburton said: “Unbelievable. I’m gutted (because) we’ve lost Jon Davies, Rhys Webb, Leigh Halfpenny, Cory Allen, and a couple of others go off then and hopefully they’re okay.

“But it just shows the sort of spirit and the strength of the squad that despite the fact we’ve lost those sorts of top quality players, we can still come to a place like Twickenham, one of the hardest places in the world, and get an away victory.

“It’s definitely up there with one of my best wins.

“Credit to England, they threw absolutely everything at us, they played really well and we really had to be at our best in defence, we gave a few too many penalties away but I’m lost for words, amazing win.”

In spite of trailing by 10 points at one stage, Warburton never gave up hope they would be able to pull off an unlikely win.

With England leading 25-18, Gareth Davies’ converted try levelled matters and the outstanding Dan Biggar booted his seventh penalty before Wales held on for a famous win.

Warburton added: “I think we’ve been in that situation a few times at half-time, we might not be leading the game but we’ve backed the fitness work we’ve done in the summer and know in the last 20 minutes we can come through quite strong.

“We always said, ‘Keep our composure, no matter what the circumstance’, and I’m glad that under a bit of pressure there, we managed to see the game out.”

The inquest into England’s defeat already seems to be under way and the main bone of contention was their failure to take the three points after being awarded a penalty when Wales had just taken the lead.

Instead, they attempted to go for the try but were driven into touch from the lineout, essentially ruling out any hopes they had of gaining something from the game.

Coach Stuart Lancaster, however, was more concerned with the errors they made throughout the 80 minutes.

“On the field it’s the players making the decisions and it was a big call to go for the corner,” he said. “It’s great if you score it, if you don’t it’s a big moment. Obviously it was a huge moment in the game.

“I’m so frustrated to have allowed Wales back into the game in the way we did, we’ve talked a lot about discipline and breakdown penalties, and we gave some dumb ones away which kept them in the game.

“We were going well but ill-discipline from us and Dan Biggar’s great goalkicking kept them in the game, and from there they got the try and suddenly (it was) 28-25.”

Lancaster also defended his decision to make substitutions rather than stick with the side that had put him ahead.

“We had a lot of injuries ourselves,” he added. “Ben Youngs is an injury, Courtney Lawes is an injury, Tom Youngs had cramp so we accumulated the same sort of attrition during the game.

“A lot of the decision I’m making are based on physios, Billy Vunipola is another injury. There’s some battered and bruised bodies in there and that’s ultimately what drives your decision making.”