A brilliant all-round performance from England handed 2019 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam winners Wales a first Test defeat in 18 months.
In front of a sell-out Twickenham crowd, England avenged their 21-13 defeat in the 2019 Championship by running out 33-19 victors and will have given coach Eddie Jones plenty of food for thought just 24 hours before he names his World Cup squad.
Numerous players impressed for the hosts as they dominated at the set-piece and caused damage in the loose, meaning Wales lost for the first time since Ireland bested them in February 2018 – a run of 14 matches.
They also missed the chance to move to No.1 in the world when the rankings are released on Monday, however they will have an immediate chance for revenge when the sides meet again at Principality Stadium next Saturday in another World Cup warm-up match.
Jones opted for a relatively experimental side that included two debutants – flanker Lewis Ludlam and scrum-half Willi Heinz – while a number of fringe players were also given a chance to shine.
Conversely, Wales named an unchanged backline from the 2019 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam clincher against Ireland in March, while talismanic captain Alun Wyn Jones became the most-capped Welshman in history – appearing in his 135th Test, which includes nine caps for The British & Irish Lions.
England may have had less experience in their XV but they made a roaring start as Jonathan Joseph, Tom Curry and Joe Cokanasiga all made eye-catching bursts before Billy Vunipola mauled his way over the line from close-range inside five minutes.
Curry continued to impress, as his interception and clever running line soon gave England more territory and they duly converted that into a second try – Cokanasiga picking up from the base of a ruck and driving over after Heinz had come up millimetres short of the line.
George Ford’s second successful conversion extended the lead to 14-0 but Wales soon gained a foothold thanks to a brilliant individual score from Gareth Davies.
The scrum-half blazed down the blindside from a scrum, cut between two defenders and then produced a scintillating step to beat full-back Elliot Daly and touch down.
Both sides continued to play expansive, open rugby full of offloads with Jones crucially intercepting Cokanasiga’s inside pass and George North’s flick not quite going to hand for Gareth Anscombe.
However, injury worries also reared their ugly heads as Curry exited holding his shoulder for the hosts, while Anscombe hobbled off with a left knee injury.
Yet England increased their lead to 21-7 just before half-time as Ken Owens’ line-out deep in his own territory was inches too high for a soaring Jones, allowing Luke Cowan-Dickie to scoop the ball up at the rear and dive over.
Ford slotted a penalty early in the second half before Wales brought themselves right back into the contest as North dotted down from close range and prop Wyn Jones nabbed his maiden international try when he got low and burrowed over from a metre out.
Another Ford penalty took the hosts’ advantage back beyond a single score and the home pack started to turn the screw – winning a third scrum penalty on 72 minutes as they looked to see the game out, with their fly-half slotting the three points to make it 30-19.
With three minutes left, a broken play ended with Daly picking up the loose ball firing a left-footed snap drop goal between the uprights from just outside the 22 as England ended their old rivals’ winning streak at 14 games.