England head coach Eddie Jones says he’s learned a lot about his squad as Wales struck back in the World Cup warm-up double header to make it one apiece.
Jones’ side beat Wales 33-19 at Twickenham Stadium last weekend but 2019 Guinness Six Nations champions Wales upped the intensity at Principality Stadium to win 13-6.
Dan Biggar kicked two penalties, George North scored a first-half try and Leigh Halfpenny a late three-pointer to fire the Welsh to victory, and to the top of the world rankings.
Jones retained a number of younger players in his starting XV – Joe Cokanasiga, Lewis Ludlam and Ellis Genge – and praised their performances.
“Some things you’ve got to learn, some things you can’t be taught,” Jones said. “And to learn to play in a hot, pressure situation like that is a fantastic experience for our young players.
“We wanted to give our bench guys a bit of a gallop too, they were due for a gallop so they got 20 or 30 minutes.
“They didn’t have that match hardness about them and we had a couple of opportunities to win the game but weren’t quite good enough.
“It was the perfect World Cup warm-up match for us, absolutely perfect. We found out about the mentality of our young players, we found out we’ve got a really good togetherness and cohesion in the squad because they fought hard for each other in difficult situations. We’ll leave here with a smile on our face.”
Back in Spring Wales built their Grand Slam campaign on unbreachable defence, and used the same method to thwart England at almost every turn of a physical Test.
Where the Welsh looked sluggish last weekend in the defeat at Twickenham there was only intensity in Cardiff, newly-installed fly-half Biggar kicking a penalty before North’s score.
England fought their way back into the contest in the second half but were restricted to two George Ford penalties, Halfpenny’s late three-pointer sealing an important warm-up win.
After the defeat, Ford commented: “We knew they were going to come back and play a better game this week and we wanted to do that ourselves as well, that was a proper test match, pretty physical and not much time or space.
“It was pretty close in the end but it’s been good for us to play in a stadium like this with the roof closed so we’ll keep working.
“I don’t think many people will remember these games but obviously what happens at the World Cup in a few weeks’ time will be completely different, well make sure we’re ready for that.”