So you turn up to ‘fortress’ Twickenham with a half strength side, but you figure it’s a baking hot day and hey, you’re Wales, you can probably run the ball around a bit to hold up your end. Just how wrong can you get.
England today displayed exactly how they’re going to defend their title. The England pack ripped the Welsh side’s limbs off and then repeatedly sodomised them with the bloody stumps. No, actually, it was more brutal than that.
To give you an idea of England’s forward supremacy; the first 50 points came from tries scored through numbers 1-9. The lion’s share of those tries coming from driving rucks and mauls following attacking line-outs or scrums in the Welsh 22. Only in the 77th minute were the girls out wide allowed to run in a couple of tries, with Robinson and Tait burning off a destroyed Welsh defence.
The armchair ride that the pack created made a couple of heros. The rookie 8 Nick Easter deservedly picked up 4 tries (to the chagrin of a Dallaglio on the side-line) as a pay off to his work rate and powerful driving runs. Perry had a great game at 9, but he also did on debut last year, to then go missing when it really mattered.
Apart from a jittery start kicking goals, Wilkinson had a good game, kicking well from hand, keeping the juggernaut moving in the right direction. Dallaglio got on for the last 20, scored a try, set up another beautifully and started making captain-like decisions. Watch for him to take Corry’s place in the back-row.
As for Wales – they were abyssmal. If the forwards weren’t losing line-outs on their own throw, the backs were getting sent off for petulant tackles and defensively moving up in perfect dog-legs that even forwards could exploit.
For the English this was a perfect start, giving confidence and a good run-out. The real test however, will be come against France in Marseilles in two weeks’ time.
England (22) 62
Tries: Easter 4, Borthwick, Perry, Dallaglio, Robinson, Tait
Cons: Wilkinson 7
Wales (0) 5