WALES are the winners of the Rugby Union Triple Crown.
The team who remain unbeaten in the Six Nations tournament picked up the trophy following their impressive bonus point win over England.
The first half was full of drama and controversy as Wales scored a quick try with Dan Biggar hoisting the ball into the corner and Josh Adams gathering to score. England Captain Owen Farrell complained that his defence were not given enough time to set.
Liam Williams scored another try when George North sent a grubber kick forward. The ball appeared to be knocked forward by Rhys Zammit, however cameras showed that the ball had gone forward from his hands but bounced backwards off his leg before being knocked forward by an England player. Liam Williams it was who gathered to go over for the try.
England bounced back with some great open play and strength moving the ball well through the hands. Anthony Watson was the powerhouse who went over for England who by now were beginning to look threatening. Wales had a half-time lead of 17-14.
It was Kieren Hardy who used initiative and speed to outwit the England defence in the second half, taking a quick tap and go penalty and whizzing past a number of England defenders to score a try on his first Six Nations start.
It didn’t take long for England to break down the Welsh defence again with some sniping runs, great handling and strength in the forwards. It was Ben Youngs who eventually gathered the ball close to the line to dive over for a try to bring the game level at 24-24.
Ill discipline in the England ranks was a major contributor to their defeat and they were punished by the boot of Callum Sheedy converting three penalties to slip Wales clear towards the final few minutes of the second half.
Wales had one more shock for Eddie’s men up their sleeves. Powerful drives by the Welsh forwards set up a platform for Corey Hill to go over under the posts to gift Pivac’s men the Triple Crown. Final Score: Wales 40 – 24 England.
In post match interviews, both Farrell and England coach Eddie Jones dismissed the questions over the referee’s decisions. Farrell said: “We can only control what we can control.” Discipline was not one of those items.
England will be hoping to make amends when they play France at Twickenham in the next round.
Wales now travel to Italy to play a team, which appears to be struggling to cope at International level. History has shown that Italy can pull surprises out of the bag and the Welsh coach Wayne Pivac will not be taking any chances.
Wales remain top of the table with two games between them and the Grand Slam. The decider, should they beat Italy will be a clash between the two in form teams in the tournament. Wales have clinched wins in France and the French team have historically suffered from ill discipline. There is a growing mood in the Welsh camp that this could just be the year Wales deliver the Grand Slam.