Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Wales defeat England in Cardiff

James Hook

England's World Cup preparations suffered a major jolt at the Millennium Stadium as Wales exposed their chronic lack of flair or imagination to secure a 19-9 win.

Three Toby Flood penalties underpinned a bash-and-smash England display that saw them waste numerous attacking opportunities after enjoying set-piece domination.

Wales, having lost Gavin Henson and Rhys Priestland to first-half injuries, dug deep, conjured a 58th-minute try for full-back James Hook that he also converted, and then comfortably kept England out.

Celebrity centre Henson departed with a wrist problem following an impressive 30-minute display, while fly-half Priestland, who kicked two penalties, hurt his left thigh.

Henson is due to undergo a scan before Wales coach Warren Gatland knows the full extent of his injury. The 29-year-old has never played in a World Cup, with this potential setback arriving just 18 days before departure to New Zealand.

Two long-range Hook penalties then sealed the the deal for a Wales side whose defensive heroics - marshalled by their magnificent captain Sam Warburton - ultimately won the day.

It was just Wales' sixth victory in the last 21 Tests, yet the result should do wonders for morale as they build towards a punishing World Cup pool that also includes South Africa, Samoa and Fiji.

But England will head back to their Surrey training base for a collective bout of head-scratching.

Rarely, in the modern international game, can one team have enjoyed such sustained supremacy but failed to ram home that advantage where it really counts - on the scoreboard.

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