Friday 23 February 2018

Reborn England gather admirers after impressive battle with Wales

WALES prop Gethin Jenkins has added his voice to the growing list of admirers for England's revival under interim coach Stuart Lancaster.

Jenkins and company stand two home wins away from securing the second RBS 6 Nations title and Grand Slam of coach Warren Gatland's four-year reign.

But it is unlikely they will receive a tougher examination than the one England gave them at Twickenham.

Wales prevailed 19-12, capturing their 20th championship Triple Crown in the process, but Jenkins admitted: "We were relieved when it was all over.

"It was a real tough encounter, yet we didn't expect anything different. "A lot of people had written England off, but their players play week in, week out in a very tough league.

"It was one of the most physical Tests I have played in. The intensity of the breakdown and tackles, and every contact was a big battle.

"Fair play to England, they did their homework on us.

"I thought England were outstanding, and we are glad we sneaked the win in the end.

"I was very impressed with them - I thought they attacked us really well at the breakdown.

"Winning a Triple Crown at Twickenham doesn't happen very often, but it is about moving on now to these next two games.

"It is a big scalp beating all the other home nations, and it is nice we have got our last two games at home. We will push on towards Italy.

"It is a case of dealing with the expectation of the Welsh public, like it always is."

Wales skipper Sam Warburton, meanwhile, has banned himself from talking about the Grand Slam his World Cup semi-finalists are now favourites to achieve.

The Triple Crown trophy might have been secured, but that is just one third of Wales' Six Nations mission accomplished, and Warburton is not about to rest on his laurels.

"The players don't even dare say those two words (Grand Slam)," he said.

"We've got two tough games to come, and hopefully we will have a fully- fit squad fighting and ready to go.

"We haven't formally said those words are banned, but I don't want to jinx myself, so I wouldn't dare say them."

Warburton delivered an astounding performance considering he had not taken part in a single contact training session since going off injured at half-time against Ireland three weeks ago.

His genial work at the breakdown was even eclipsed by a remarkable try-saving tackle on England's midfield juggernaut Manu Tuilagi as he once again set standards for his willing team-mates to follow.

"This is probably the best moment of my career," he added.

"It is nice that after all the hard work we have put in over the last 12 months, we've got some recognition and a little bit of silverware.

"Everyone was enjoying passing the trophy around in the changing rooms. It's a massive achievement."

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport