Wales captain Dan Biggar was proud of his side’s fighting spirit but said they gave England too much of a head start in their 23-19 defeat at Twickenham.
Four Marcus Smith penalties put England 12-0 to the good at half-time before Alex Dombrandt’s try stretched the lead to 17-0 after 42 minutes.
However, Wales roared back into the game with tries for Josh Adams and Nick Tompkins and Kieran Hardy’s quick tap brought them to within a score with the clock in the red but eventually time ran out for Wayne Pivac’s men.
Biggar said: “You can’t come to a place like this and go 17-0 down. As well as we played, the impact the bench made, the fight, the character – we can’t fault it.
“But we are going to go away and rue that first 25 minutes particularly. You can’t go 17-0 down to a top-quality team like this and expect to get a result.
“We showed huge amounts of fight and spirit, but we are disappointed with that first half an hour.”
Biggar was impressed at the progress his side made when they had to throw caution to the wind to get back into the game in the second half at Twickenham.
Wales’ attack looked far more potent after the break, with the skipper singling out the returning No.8 Taulupe Faletau and winger Alex Cuthbert – who carried for 137 metres, the most of his international career – who was selected over young speedster Louis Rees-Zammit.
Biggar added: “From one point it’s really pleasing that we managed to find space and open the game up and stretch England. But we were almost forced into that because of the scoreline.
“We had to put phases together. We made some good inroads in that first half but we just couldn’t finish anything off.
“Once we managed to stretch them, we managed to keep ball and find some territory and cause them all sorts of problems, but we just couldn’t get enough of that in the first half.
“I thought Cuthy [Alex Cuthbert] was unbelievable, the amount of metres and how powerful he was in contact – he was brilliant and Toby [Taulupe Faletau] looked like he’d never been away, didn’t he?
“Great to have those two back and it adds competition and depth to the squad.”