Five Guinness Six Nations Classics: England v Wales

Manu Tuilagi celebrates his try with Henry Slade, George Ford and Luke Cowan-Dickie 7/3/2020
England host Wales in Round 3 of the Guinness Six Nations with both sides needing to win to maintain their title aspirations.

England host Wales in Round 3 of the Guinness Six Nations with both sides needing to win to maintain their title aspirations.

After losing to Scotland and Ireland respectively in their opening games, England comfortably beat Italy without conceding while Wales retained the Doddie Weir Cup by narrowly beating Scotland at Principality Stadium.

Ahead of the must-win clash, we’ve picked out five of the best Championship matches between these two titans of international rugby.

On their way to the first of three titles in four years, England certainly had some memorable victories in the early 2000s.

None more so than this dominant performance over Wales at Twickenham in Round 3.

Leading 19-12 at the break after a try from Phil Greening and some excellent kicking from Jonny Wilkinson, England turned on the style in the second half.

Four further tries followed with no reply from the Welsh with the crowning moment a powerful driving run to the whitewash from Lawrence Dallaglio to wrap up an iconic victory.

No-one gave Wales a chance prior to the 2005 Championship, especially as they’d finished sixth just two years previously and a fourth-place finish in 2004.

But their first Grand Slam for 27 years began at Principality Stadium and a dramatic late penalty from Gavin Henson gave Wales their first win over England since 1999.

England took the lead in the tight contest with six minutes remaining, Charlie Hodgson kicking his third penalty of the day.

In the 77th minute, Wales were awarded a penalty 48 yards out and far over to the right-hand side.

Henson duly delivered the ball between the posts and released pandemonium in Cardiff.

Another first-round Wales win that saw them on the way to a second Grand Slam in four years looked unlikely when they were trailing 19-6 with 35 minutes remaining.

But Warren Gatland’s first game as head coach saw a rip-roaring comeback secure Wales’ first win over England at Twickenham for 20 years.

In the space of three minutes, first a penalty from James Hook then a converted try from Lee Byrne brought the match level at 19-19.

The turnaround was complete just three minutes later, as Mike Phillips crashed over the line following a turnover from his charge down.

England’s first-half try by Toby Flood would be the first of just two tries conceded by Wales in the whole Championship.

Wales came into their final match in 2013 needing a win by at least seven points to claim back-to-back titles for the first time since 1979.

They had won the Slam the year before and England were after one of their own, having not completed the clean sweep since 2003.

But England were to be denied at Principality, losing by a record margin as Wales ran riot.

Under a closed roof the atmosphere was rumbling even before kick-off.

And the Welsh supporters erupted when Alex Cuthbert’s two second-half tries in the space of ten minutes made the result a formality, building on Leigh Halfpenny’s four penalties.

Wales won the title on points difference and Cardiff had yet another night of wild celebrations.

Despite losing their first game, England were still in with a shout of the title in the March of 2020.

Their fourth-round opponents were the defending champions and it would be an action-packed encounter that Eddie Jones’ men would edge to secure their first Triple Crown since 2016.

It looked to be a comfortable win for England who led 33-16 with eight minutes left on the clock.

But try-scorer Manu Tuilagi was sent off for a high tackle in the 74th minute which acted as a catalyst for a late Welsh fightback.

Two late tries from Dan Biggar and Justin Tipuric put the visitors within touching distance but it was not enough.

A raucous Twickenham celebrated what would be a seventh Guinness Six Nations title, blissfully unaware this would be the last time they saw the stadium full for a very long time.