No more 'get out of jail free' cards for England

Sun, 12 Feb 2017 12:38

REACTION: England coach Eddie Jones accepted his side had used up all their "get-out-of-jail cards" following a gripping 21-16 win away to Wales in the Six Nations.

The Grand Slam champions were 14-16 behind with just four minutes left when wing Elliot Daly, following a poor clearance kick by Wales centre Jonathan Davies, surged past Alex Cuthbert for a superb try in the corner.

As had been the case in their tournament-opening win over France the week before, England had come from behind to seal victory with a late try.

"We have used up all of our get-out-of-jail cards and against Italy [on February 26] we don't want to be in that position again," Jones said.

"I thought it was a great game of Test rugby," added Jones after England moved to within two wins of world champions New Zealand's all-time record of 18 successive Test victories by a leading rugby nation.

"A lot of credit goes to Wales, who were superb. They hit hard and hit often off the ball, which made it a fantastic Test match."

The Australian, yet to lose a Test as England boss since his appointment following the team's first-round exit on home soil at the 2015 World Cup, added: "We are a gritty team with characters in there that don't know how to get beaten, and that was evident here.

"At stages I thought we were going to fade out of the game, but we hung in there making tackles."

Jones, paying tribute to his hard-working locks, said: "Courtney Lawes is like a human ice-pack. He has ice all over him after that many tackles and carries. Joe Launchbury as well."

Shortly before his blistering score, Daly had raced back to prevent Wales fly-half Dan Biggar scoring a stunning intercept try.

"The boy's got gas and he's got that X-factor about him and that's what we like him," Jones said. "I don't necessarily think wing is his best position, but it suits us at the moment.

"You've got to be running over 10 metres per second to score that try, and he can do that.

"Elliot might get a run out for Manchester United with that kick out [after the Biggar interception]. It was a pretty good tackle. He did really well for us."

Wales led 13-8 at the break after Liam Williams crossed to cancel out an early try by England scrum-half Ben Youngs.

But the lead never got beyond five points and Wales coach Rob Howley was left to rue a lack of composure in the closing stages.

"The intensity and application of our players for 75 minutes was outstanding," he said.

"We played with pace and accuracy, as did England," the former Wales scrumhalf added.

"England know how to win, and we lost, but it was a fantastic performance.

"In the final 10 minutes, we had to execute under pressure, and we didn't. But that is Test match football."

Wales suffered a setback when George North was ruled out an hour before kick-off after failing to overcome a leg injury sustained in their preceding 33-7 win away to Italy.

Howley, however, said he expected the powerhouse wing to be fit for Wales's next match, against Scotland on February 25.

"It was pretty evident this [Saturday] morning that the haematoma hadn't settled, which is pretty important," Howley explained.

"We gave him every opportunity, and this morning it was fairly obvious that we would be putting him at risk if he started the game, so hopefully we made the right decision.

"He will be fit for Murrayfield selection."

Agence France-Presse

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Sat, 25 March 2017
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England 5 4 0 1 19
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Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0