Jump to main content

Ten of the greatest Wales v England clashes in the Championship

Ten of the greatest Wales v England clashes in the Championship

England and Wales have squared off 122 times in the history of the Championship

Round Three of the Guinness Six Nations will see the only two remaining unbeaten sides face off in Cardiff when Wales play host to England.

The great rivals have played 122 times in the Championship, with the English holding a narrow lead as it stands 56 wins to 54.

Wales will look to move back within a victory on Sunday at Principality Stadium, in what will be Warren Gatland’s last Championship game against England.

With just over a week to go until the game, we have picked out ten great clashes in the history of the fixture.

1968 – Gareth Edwards’ first match at Twickenham

For many Gareth Edwards is the greatest player Wales have ever produced and a year after making his Test debut, he made his first appearance at Twickenham in 1968.

Against an English side who had lost in Cardiff the previous year, Wales were starting to build the team that would dominate the 1970s.

Google Ads Manager – Leaderboard

Edwards and Barry John were the half-back pairing, Gerald Davies was jinking away in the centres, and the great Wales backline was taking shape.

Colin McFadyean, the England centre, got the first try for the hosts, but it was from his drop that Wales responded. Edwards showed all his sniping ability to get over from the back of a scrum, in a game that was eventually drawn 11-11.

1970 – Chico Hopkins’ moment

Trailing 13-3 and with skipper Edwards forced off through injury, Wales turned to Ray ‘Chico’ Hopkins two years later when they returned to Twickenham.

The Maesteg scrum-half played a total of 20 minutes of international rugby for the Welsh, but what a cameo it was.

Replacing the Wales great, Hopkins came on and set up JPR Williams for a Welsh try.

Hopkins’ day got even better when he scored a try from an overthrown lineout in added time and inspired a remarkable comeback as Wales won 17-13 on their way to a share of the title with France.

1980 – England end the hoodoo on the way to a Slam

Wales enjoyed remarkable success against England in the latter half of the 1960s and then the 1970s, with just one defeat in 16 meetings.

However in 1980, under the leadership of Bill Beaumont, England finally put an end to that run as they started to re-establish themselves as a global force.

In a hard-fought game at Twickenham, Wales lost Paul Ringer to a red card after 13 minutes, and England battled to a 9-8 victory.

Dusty Hare kicked all of England’s points and a month later they completed the Grand Slam when John Carleton scored a hat-trick to see off Scotland.

1993 – Evans gets the better of Underwood

The 1990s were a good time for England, most notably as they claimed back-to-back Grand Slams in 1991 and 1992.

Having opened the 1993 Championship with a narrow win over France, they were dreaming of a third straight as they travelled to Cardiff.

The decisive moment came when Emyr Lewis put in a kick from inside his own half and Ieuan Evans spotted Rory Underwood hesitating.

He powered past him, booted the ball on and had the legs to race past Jon Webb and score.

Wales were able to hold on, winning 10-9, with France the beneficiaries as they took the title.

1999 – Scott Gibbs’ Wembley moment

Possibly the most famous one of them all. In 1999 Wales were playing their home games at Wembley as the national stadium in Cardiff was being rebuilt.

The final game of the Championship saw them hosting England on English soil, with the notional visitors going for the Grand Slam.

A thrilling game was drawing to a close with the English 31-25 to the good and seemingly on course for victory.

However, off the top of a lineout outside the 22 the ball was spread to Gibbs, running a devastating angle. He cut through, stepped past a couple more defenders before celebrating as he dived over the line.

It was a mark of the faith in Neil Jenkins that there was no worry from any of the Welsh players that he might miss the match-winning conversion. They were right to be confident as Jenkins made no mistake, handing Wales the win and Scotland the final-ever Five Nations title.

2000 – Dallaglio try powering through Welshmen

England established themselves as the dominant force in Europe in the early 2000s, winning three title in four years including the Grand Slam in 2003.

One of the most iconic moments came in 2000 at Twickenham in a convincing 46-12 success.

With the result effectively wrapped up, Lawrence Dallaglio showed all his power as he picked off the back of a scrum and carried three Welshmen to the line to score. It remains one of the more famous moments of that great English side.

2005 – Henson’s kick

In 2005 Wales entered the Championship with few backing them for the title a year after a fourth-place finish.

England handed teenager Mat Tait a debut, and he was quickly introduced to Gavin Henson, with one tackle seeing the centre carried backwards at a rate of knots.

That was far from Henson’s most crucial contribution though. With time ticking away and Wales trailing 9-8, they were awarded a penalty wide out on the right, with Henson stepping up to have a go from 48 metres.

He split the uprights, with a bit to spare, and Wales won 11-9 on their way to a first Grand Slam in 27 years.

2008 – Six minutes of madness

Warren Gatland took over as Wales coach at the end of 2007 with his first game a trip to Twickenham, where Wales had not won in 20 years.

When they trailed 19-6 in the second half, the chances of that ending seemed remote to say the least.

As they did in Paris this year, Wales were able to turn the tables, first with a penalty from James Hook. That was followed by a try from Lee Byrne and another by Mike Phillips, all in the space of six minutes as Wales stunned their hosts.

That 26-19 success again proved the starting point for a Grand Slam, as Wales made it two in four years – with another to follow in 2012.

2013 – Under the roof

Having won the Slam in 2012, Wales found themselves readying for England who were in search of a first Grand Slam in a decade.
The Welsh were still in with a chance of the title themselves but needed to win by at least seven points to deny England.

They did that and more romping to a 30-3 success – a record margin of victory over their rivals – in an electric atmosphere under the roof.

Alex Cuthbert was the hero of the hour, crossing twice down the right as Wales stretched away in the second half to secure back-to-back titles for the first time since the 1970s.

2017 – Daly late show

Two years ago, and the last time the teams met in Cardiff, it was another thriller – with Wales having the upper hand heading into the closing stages.

They were 16-14 up thanks to a Liam Williams try and the boot of Leigh Halfpenny, with Ben Youngs having scored the sole English try.

However from a deep Jonathan Davies kick, England countered first through George Ford, who found Owen Farrell. He then whipped the ball out wide to Elliot Daly, who had the pace to round Cuthbert and go over in the corner. Farrell converted from the touchline and England held on to win 21-16 on their way to a second successive title.