Saturday 18 November 2017

Dylan Hartley hails England's character after late fight back against Wales

Britain Rugby Union - Wales v England - Six Nations Championship - Principality Stadium, Cardiff - 11/2/17 England's Joe Marler and Dylan Hartley Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Britain Rugby Union - Wales v England - Six Nations Championship - Principality Stadium, Cardiff - 11/2/17 England's Joe Marler and Dylan Hartley Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Press Association

Dylan Hartley hailed the character of England after they fought back to dramatically defeat Wales 21-16 in Cardiff.

England extended their winning run to 16 Tests as wing Elliot Daly's late try clinched a stunning RBS 6 Nations victory over Wales.

The first defeat of Eddie Jones' coaching reign appeared to be looming large as Wales led by two points with four minutes left, but Daly finished off brilliantly following a poor Jonathan Davies clearance, and Owen Farrell's conversion saw England home.

When asked if he believed England could still win the match before Daly's decisive try, England captain Hartley told BBC1: "Yes. We showed good examples of what we can do today. I would have preferred it if we had wrapped it up a bit sooner than that but it shows great character from the team.

"Again the finishers came on and added loads to that game and showed great composure.

"There were parts to that game that we have to look at and get better because I think it was self-enforced pressure at times and not being able to get out of our half.

England's Dylan Hartley. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
England's Dylan Hartley. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

"Wales put us under unbelievable pressure in that area so it's something we have to learn from. Again, we'll take that one.

"(It was) unbelievable character from the guys. They believe and we play for a full 80, 81 minutes if need be.

"Full credit to Wales, it was an unbelievable challenge today. They are a hell of a side."

England head coach Jones thinks grit and the desire to be the best team in the world drove his side on to the victory over Wales.

"I always thought we could win the game," the Australian said. "The second half we got our defensive intensity back and we just needed to get some ball.

"We didn't have much ball all game except in the first 20 minutes. We did a hell of a lot of defence.

"It's grit. The players believe we can be the best team in the world. If you want to be the best team in the world you've got to win those games."

Jones also praised Daly, whose decisive try towards the death pushed England over the line.

"He's a lovely player. We're not sure of his best position but he's handy on the wing," Jones said.

"He's got exceptional gas and he finished the day absolutely first class."

England's next Six Nations opponents are Italy, who were put to the sword in a 63-10 defeat by Ireland in Rome earlier on Saturday.

Jones is now targeting a big victory of his own against the Azzurri.

"We're looking forward," Jones added. "We've got a week's training in central London next week so we'll train hard and do a few different things with the boys and then we'll be right for a week's preparation against Italy and it's a big game for us as we want to put them to the cleaners."

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones was disappointed with the result but took positives from the change in performance from his side.

"We had a good score before the half (time) considering the pressure we were under but ultimately we didn't maintain that for the second half," he said.

"Yes we were disappointed with the result but people wanted to see us change, try to change and we've done that.

"The performance there was there for 76 minutes. Unfortunately those four minutes eluded us this week."

Press Association

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