RWC 2015: Wales take upper hand in Pool A
By Ryan Moran
- Wales beat England in Pool A, leaving the hosts needing to win against Australia.
- Ireland and Scotland top their groups as they remain unbeaten.Wales take upper hand in Pool A
- England face Australia in their next game at Twickenham.
Wales revenge their six nations defeat as they join Ireland and Scotland on 100% win records, with England losing their winning start against Wales.
After being 22-12 down, Wales cut the deficit and pushed on to take the victory over England through a Dan Biggar penalty kick, avenging the six nations defeat in Cardiff. Scotland make it 10 points out of 10 with a 39-16 win over USA while Ireland made the same boast the same points tally with a 44-10 win over Romania.
England 25-28 Wales
Changes were made to the hosts’ squad in preparation for the visit of Wales to Twickenham. The main change was the swap of Owen Farrell coming in for George Ford, a decision well made with Ford’s replacement kicking 20 points for his side out of the 25 that were scored. The other change that sparked conversation was the inclusion of Sam Burgess for Jonathan Joseph while Billy Vunipola took the place of the injured Ben Morgan.
Walking wounded Wales struggled as the home side took control in their fortress that is Twickenham, with a 22-15 lead going into the last half an hour. At that point, many thought Stuart Lancaster’s side would be able to close out the game. However, Warren Gatland’s side pushed with reward for Biggar, pulling the game back to 25-25. Biggar’s accurate kicking from penalties earned Wales 21 points, adding his conversion took his tally for the game to 23 points. Gareth Davies scored the try, adding the other five points to make their winning total of 28.
The Reds took an early lead through a penalty before England cruised into a lead personified by Farrell’s near perfect kicking and a drop goal as well as Jonny May’s try, converted by the fly half. Unfortunately for Lancaster’s side, a decision made by Chris Robshaw became the talking point after the game when the captain kicked to the corner, rather than kicking through the posts. The maul that followed did not go in the captain’s favour as they lost control and subsequently the chance had disappeared. The minute the 80th minute ticked by, their opponents kicked into touch ending the game and sealing the win, revenge for the Six Nations defeat inflicted by the current world cup hosts.
The intensity of the game showed when three more of Wales’ players will spend time on the injury table as Scott Williams, Liam Williams and Hallam Amos picked up injuries in the victory. This takes Gatland’s injury list to eight players after two games into the competition.
Scotland 39-16 USA
Scotland’s World Cup demons currently seem to be staying away as they stay top of Pool B with maximum points scoring five tries against the USA. The home nation’s start didn’t set them up as Titi Lamositele scored a try to open the scoring. A limp first half required the help of the substitute bench, in this game Vern Cotter used them well. Losing 13-6 at half time, Cotter’s side made up for their first half performance by winning the second 33-3.
Tim Visser, Sean Maitland and WP Nel, Matt Scott and Duncan Weir crossed the line to earn what could be vital points come the end of the group stage. Nel was a second half replacement alongside Alasdair Dickinson who replaced Ryan Grant and Jon Welsh respectively. Finn Russell converted one try while Greg Laidlaw kicked between the posts three times to add eight points to the score. Russell and Stuart Hogg scored penalties to make up the 36 points.
Wales play Fiji in their next game while England play their now crucial game against Australia.
Ireland 44-10 Romania
Ireland’s hardest games are still ahead of them with six nations’ rivals Italy and France still to play. That said, maximum points from their easier games will only help their cause to make it past the group stage. A comprehensive win over Romania will only set them up well for their harder fixtures.
Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls scored tries to put Joe Schmidt’s side 18-3 up at half time. Bowe and Earls scored second tries in the second half, while Rob Kearney and Chris Henry added tries putting the greens ahead. Iain Madigan kicked four conversions and two penalties to complete the victory. Special mention goes to Simon Zebo for playing a key role in the victory. Zebo provided the pass for Earls’ first try out of two, earlier in the game he nearly had glory of his own after chipping up field before chasing only for the try to be disallowed for a foot being in touch.
Italy are the next challenge for Ireland before they meet France for what seems to be the game for top of the table.
England’s clash with Australia is their next challenge in their home World Cup next Saturday 3rd October. A win is vital to stand a chance of reaching the knockout stages.