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England sunk by Wales while Ireland lash Italy

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27th February, 2021
11

England’s Six Nations hopes are over after losing a controversial match 40-24 to triple crown-winning Wales in Cardiff while Ireland beat Italy 48-10 in Rome.

Revitalised Wales remain on course for the most unlikely of Six Nations grand slams after winning the triple crown with a 40-24 defeat of undisciplined England in a controversial match in Cardiff.

A dramatic affair followed Ireland’s routine six-try, 48-10 hammering of Italy in Rome on Saturday.

At Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, Wales moved two victories away from a grand slam by after their bonus-point win while England’s Australian coach Eddie Jones saw the champions’ hopes of retaining their title reduced to ruins.

Josh Adams and Liam Williams scored hotly-disputed first-half tries for the hosts but the game was level going into the final quarter after tries for Anthony Watson and Ben Youngs for England.

But England’s discipline, terrible from the first whistle, came back to haunt them as Callum Sheedy landed three penalties. Cory Hill finished things off with a late try.

Having come into the Championship on the back of a very poor 2020, Wales now top the standings on 14 points with games against France and Italy to come.

France, whose match against Scotland on Sunday has been postponed due to COVID-19, are second on nine from their two wins.

Ireland are now third on seven points, with England trailing on six after two defeats.

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Wales led 17-14 at halftime through two of the most controversial tries seen for many years in the championship.

The first came when England were breaking out of a huddle after the referee had instructed captain Owen Farrell to address his players and they were unprepared for quick-thinking Dan Biggar’s kick to the corner that Adams collected in acres of space.

Farrell’s complaints were brushed away by French referee Pascal Gauzere and the captain was fuming again when Louis Rees-Zammit appeared to knock on – he certainly thought he had – before Williams scooped up the loose ball to score.

The TMO ruled that there was no knock-on due to the ball hitting the young winger’s foot.

In the second half, England started playing their rugby of the tournament as Youngs threw a dummy to scamper over.

Farrell converted – bringing up his 1000th international point – to level the scores but England gave away three penalties that Sheedy gleefully converted into nine points, with Hill burrowing over for the fourth try at the death.

Farrell was asked about the refereeing decisions but shrugged: “There is no point in talking about it now. That is for everyone else to talk about. We will control what we can control.”

In Rome, scores from Garry Ringrose, Hugo Keenan, CJ Stander and Keith Earls, plus a brace for Will Connors, helped Ireland rebound from defeats to Wales and France in the most emphatic fashion.

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Captain Johnny Sexton, returning from a head injury, added all six conversions and two penalties as Andy Farrell celebrated the first away win of his tenure to ease mounting pressure.

Defeat for Italy was a 30th in succession in the championship, dating back six years to a victory over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Flyhalf Paolo Garbisi conjured a moment of magic to set up a consolation try for Johan Meyer late in the first half but it was an all-too-familiar story for the hosts.

© AAP