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6N: England and Wales set for another close encounter

11 February 2018, 05:18 | Gordon Grant

6N: England and Wales set for another close encounter

England braced for Georgian scrum titans as Dylan Hartley eyes scrum intensity

Whether Wales can cope is another issue.

Jonny May scored his first Six Nations tries as England held off a valiant Wales effort to secure their 15th consecutive home win after a pulsating contest at Twickenham. If someone is unsure, particularly in professional sport, it is important we get clarity.

There was a sense of déjà vu for Warren Gatland as he processed Wales' tight defeat to England on Saturday.

England would eventually see out a 12-6 victory, May adding a second try which Farrell converted after missing the first.

The RFU, who extended Jones's contract beyond the 2019 Rugby World Cup, have already stated they will endorse any approach for Jones to coach the Lions in South Africa in 2021.

England would have lost more than one test by now under Jones if it weren't for the abrasive edge he has instilled in his squad.

However, the 29-year-old - one of Wales' most experienced players - was confirmed as an absentee for the England game just over an hour before kick-off on Saturday, with a foot infection the reported reason for his withdrawal. They had not been expected to challenge for the championship before a ball was kicked, but Saturday provided proof that there is depth in the Welsh game, too. Both players will be given tougher challenges by Vunipola and Evans, but as the fulcrums of their respective scrums, they're hard to separate.

In their last two Six Nations matches each time Italy let through eight tries.

Danny Care will only celebrate becoming England's most capped scrum-half if Wales are dispatched in his most eagerly awaited fixture of the season.

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Gatland, part of the northern hemisphere scene for even longer, is about to set a notable record. France, Ireland, Italy, and Scotland have managed just one Twickenham win between them in that time. We had two passes go astray [against Scotland] and a couple of other opportunities where our players have gone on their own or have gone the wrong way. "We don't have any fear about going up there".

Young Rhys Patchell, the target for Jones' comments to try and unsettle him beforehand, looked nervousearly on.

"Every time Patchell looks up he's going to see JJ (Jonathan Joseph) in his vision". "He's been magnificent, mate, truly professional", said Jones of Wigglesworth.

"He's a young guy, he's inexperienced, he's their third choice 10". "That's the salt of a rugby player, that's what you're made of, irrelevant of how much experience you have or haven't got".

"The win was built around a lot of courage and a lot of belief in the team", Jones added. Scotland couldn't cope with the expectation.

England is sure its reserves will rise to the occasion again, while Wales is confident of outlasting the home side.

"Everyone talks about how much they dislike the English but I think the relationship between England and Wales has always been close".

Hatley continued: "We were well within our rights to ask the question of World Rugby".

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