ON THE EDGE

Five great matches

Fri, 15 Mar 2013 12:20
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Wales and England meet for the 124th time on Saturday, with a Grand Slam at stake for the visitors at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium and a successful Six Nations title defence assured for the Welsh if they win by eight points or better.

One of rugby's oldest rivalries may have started with a lopsided result when England beat Wales by seven goals, one drop-goal and six tries to none at Blackheath, London, in 1881 but a Wales victory on Saturday would tie the series at 56 wins each, with 12 draws.

Below AFP Sport looks back at five especially memorable encounters between the cross-border foes.

1967: Cardiff: Wales 34 England 21

Making his Wales debut aged just 18 years and a month, Keith Jarrett -- selected out of position at full-back rather than in his usual Newport role of centre -- scored 19 points, including one of the all-time great tries when he ran back a kick from England centre Colin MacFadyean, passing several startled defenders and sprinted into the north-east corner.

The 34 points Wales scored that day remains their highest tally in a match against England.

1976: Twickenham: England 9 Wales 21

Wales were the outstanding 'Home Nation' of the 1970s, with France their only consistent rivals for the then Five Nations title that decade.

Two of the stars of the British and Irish Lions series wins in New Zealand (1971) and South Africa (1974) in scrum-half Gareth Edwards and JPR Williams scored Wales's three tries this match with full-back Williams -- never on the losing side against England even at junior level -- crossing twice in a victory that formed part of a Grand Slam season.

All England could manage in reply were three penalties from full-back Alastair Hignell.

1991 Cardiff: Wales 6 England 25

England finally ended a 28-year run without a victory in Cardiff in emphatic fashion, this win helping the visitors to their first Grand Slam since 1980.

England, captained by centre Will Carling, relied on a dominant pack with flanker Mike Teague scoring the only try and full-back Simon Hodgkinson kicking a Championship record seven penalties in a match.

For Wales, this clash saw the debuts of fly-half Neil Jenkins and centre Scott Gibbs, both of whom would enjoy distinguished Test careers.

2003 Brisbane: England 28 Wales 17

England's ultimately successful quest for World Cup glory in Australia was in severe trouble when Wales led 10-3 at half-time in this quarter-final.

Having lost their way under Kiwi coach Steve Hansen, now in charge of reigning world champions New Zealand, Wales reverted to their traditional running game and a typical darting break by diminutive wing Shane Williams created a superb try for fly-half Stephen Jones, with back-row Colin Charvis and replacement Martyn Williams also crossing England's line.

But England, who saw coach Clive Woodward bring on Mike Catt for the second half, won thanks to 23 points from the boot of fly-half Jonny Wilikinson and a try by centre Will Greenwood created by wing Jason Robinson's dazzling break.

2008: Twickenham: England 19 Wales 26

Wales's first win at Twickenham in 20 years saw them give Warren Gatland, who later this year will take the British and Irish Lions to Australia, a win in the New Zealander's debut match in charge.

England dominated the first half, a Toby Flood try and Wilkinson's boot leaving the hosts 16-6 up at the break.

But Wales came storming back in the second half, James Hook kicking the visitors to within seven points of England before full-back Lee Byrne finished off a well-worked move for a try and scrum-half Mike Phillips crossed for a another after Iain Balshaw's kick was charged down.

This victory was the catalyst for the second of three Welsh Grand Slams in the space of seven years.

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