Wales 10-20 England: Watson marks return with a try as Borthwick's men inflict more misery on hosts
England made it back-to-back Six Nations wins as they overcame a beleaguered Wales 20-10 at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.
Wales, whose preparations for the game were hampered after a dispute with the Professional Rugby Board and Welsh Rugby Union, have now suffered three straight defeats in this year's competition.
Captain Owen Farrell got England up and running with an early penalty from 45 metres, before winger Anthony Watson – making his first international start in almost two years – went over to cap a wonderful team move.
Farrell was unable to add the conversion from the touchline, which helped Wales reduce the deficit to five through Leigh Halfpenny's penalty.
Farrell squandered the chance to extend England's lead as he struck a penalty just wide of the posts, before Wales stunned the visitors within a minute of the second half when Louis Rees-Zammit intercepted a pass 40 metres out and raced over.
That try was converted by Halfpenny to put Wales ahead, yet England responded almost immediately as Kyle Sinckler powered over from close range, with Farrell adding the extra points.
Wales pushed hard to claw their way back into the game, but England's victory was sealed with five minutes remaining when Ollie Lawrence went over in the corner.
Wales fail to end tough week on a high
Wales boss Warren Gatland said the threat of strike action by his players had taken the team "to the brink of disaster" this week.
The worst case scenario was avoided, however, after an agreement was reached with the Welsh Rugby Players' Association on several key issues, including wages and changes to the 60-cap rule that governed international selection.
The saga evidently took a toll on Wales' players, who fought hard but just lacked the quality and energy required to overcome Steve Borthwick's side.
England maintain fine run over Wales
England have now won eight of their past 10 Six Nations meetings with Wales. Their six previous victories before this all came by margins of six points or fewer.
This latest win moves them onto 10 points in the Six Nations table, five adrift of leaders Ireland.
Key Opta Facts:
- Watson scored his first try for England since March 2021 (v France) - he has now scored five tries in his last five Six Nations starts and five in six matches against Wales.
- Sinckler has scored just his second ever Six Nations try in what is his 28th appearance in the competition - both of his tries have come away from home (also v Italy in Rome in 2022).
- Alun Wyn Jones played in his 16th Six Nations match against England; no other player has featured more than 13 times against England in the Championship.
- England have won a Six Nations game against Wales in Cardiff for the first time since 2017 (21-16), with their tally of just 10 points conceded being their lowest in the Welsh capital since 2003 (26-9).
Wales face Italy in Rome's Stadio Olimpico in a fortnight – the same day England take on France at Twickenham.