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Five things we learnt from England v Wales

Published 26/09/2015

Dan Biggar ran the show for Wales in their World Cup victory against England at Twickenham.
Dan Biggar ran the show for Wales in their World Cup victory against England at Twickenham.

Wales pulled off one of the greatest victories in their long and proud history on Saturday night, beating fierce World Cup rivals England 28-25 at Twickenham and taking a huge step towards the quarter-finals.

Here, Press Association Sport Rugby Union correspondent Andrew Baldock looks at five things that were learnt from the contest.

THE HEAT IS ON ENGLAND HEAD COACH STUART LANCASTER LIKE NEVER BEFORE

Lancaster came under fire during the week following his midfield selection of Owen Farrell, Sam Burgess and Brad Barritt, but that is nothing to what he will now face in the build-up to meeting Australia next Saturday. If England lose to the Wallabies, they face making an early exit from their own World Cup.

WALES WERE HEROES TO A MAN

Wales had no right to win the game. They trailed 19-9, they were horribly outgunned during the first-half in scrums and lineouts, and then saw Scott Williams, Liam Williams and Hallam Amos all depart the action with serious-looking injuries. That they emerged victorious represents one of the greatest victories by any team in rugby union history.

ENGLAND ARE GIFTED IN THE FLY-HALF DEPARTMENT

So much was made of Ford being dropped to the bench by England boss Stuart Lancaster for his country's biggest game in four years, but Ford's replacement Farrell stepped up to the plate immaculately. The Saracens number 10 did everything that was asked during a game of almost unbearable pressure, once again illustrating on the Test match stage what a cool, calm customer he is, even in defeat.

WALES' SCRUM REMAINS TOO UNRELIABLE IN THE BIGGEST GAMES

In seems almost churlish to mention it, but Wales knew from past experience that French referee Jerome Garces would not require a second invitation to punish their indiscretions at scrum-time, and so it proved once more. England were far more streetwise in how they understood Garces' approach, yet it still did not win them the game.

DAN BIGGAR GETS BIGGER AND BETTER

The Wales fly-half had it all to lose under the Twickenham floodlights. Not only did he face a major examination of his tactical credentials, he also had to step into Leigh Halfpenny's shoes as first-choice goalkicker after the Wales full-back suffered a tournament-ending knee injury three weeks ago. Biggar kicked six penalties out of six, and never looked like missing. Has grown into a truly world-class number 10.

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