Wales Top Rugby Union’s World Rankings with 13-6 victory Over England.
For the first time in its history, Wales top Rugby Union’s World Rankings after their well-fought triumph over England. In doing so, the Welsh dethrone their across-the-sea rivals New Zealand, who have sat in the top spot for 10 years! Though the difference between the two is marginal, the whole of Wales should still be singing “Calon Lan.”
Wales head coach, Warren Gatland, admitted that New Zealand reporters are probably snorting at the current leader board, given that Wales have not defeated the All Blacks since 1953 and stressed that he knows Wales still have much to improve on following their two warm-ups with England.
Nevertheless, it was an outstanding performance from the Welsh who were definitely making up for their 33-19 loss to England at Twickenham. England Rugby had ended Wales 14-match unbeaten run and denied them a world No1 spot a couple of weeks ago and perhaps a top-of-the-table ranking had distracted Wales because last weekend at Principality Stadium and in a test that demanded strength and physicality, the Welsh men were anything but distracted.
By half-time Wales had built a 10-0 lead, with Dan Biggar converting and kicking a penalty, and wing, George North scoring a wonderful try at the 33rd minute, helping Wales bounce back from their Twickenham defeat. Biggar demonstrated some real creativity to get his side out in front and if this was an attempt to prove to Gatland that he deserved to start as a fly-half in Japan, well, the point was definitely proven.
In the second-half, the momentum shifted between these two powerhouses and England were a lot more efficient. Wales struggled to create the dangerous and creative play that we had seen in the first half. Possession began to be traded back and forth between the British rivals, with scrums being given left, right and centre. At 47 minutes, England neared a try but couldn’t see it through – though that didn’t stop Eddie Jones’s men. A chance to chip away at the Welsh advantage came in the form of fly-half, George Ford, who cut Wales’s lead short with a penalty. Five minutes later, Wales conceded again with another penalty and Ford rose to the occasion once more, firing the ball through the middle of the uprights. It was 10-6 now!
For almost twenty minutes both sides vied to do more damage to the other but ultimately, it was Wales that succeeded. Five minutes before time, England were offside and Leigh Halfpenny took the penalty. Positioned right before the posts, he sent the ball soaring through and it was 13-6 to Wales. England tried to replicate their success at Twickenham in the closing minutes but moving the Welsh defence, looked to be harder than moving a mountain in that maul. It was a tremendous effort on England’s part who showcased strength and determination but Wales looked like a new team compared to last week.
The British foes have a win a piece now and should they meet again in the World Cup, fans will definitely be in for a thrilling treat. Who would you bet on being victorious next time?