A loss, but expectations were delivered
1 March 2012
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Saturday’s England v Wales match was almost all I hoped it to be. England played with ambition, defended with aggression, and were willing to take risks to make things happen.
The game could have gone either way and there were so many individual moments that could have turned it one way or the other; David Strettle’s tap tackle on George North in the opening minutes that prevented Wales taking an early 7-0 lead; Warburton desperately hanging on to Tuilagi’s ankle to stop a certain England try in the first half; a charged down ball that could have bounced differently for Botha to carry it over the line; Williams’ moment of brilliance for the decisive score for Wales; and a try that may or may not have been touched down in the last seconds of the game to potentially force a draw.
The crowd was passionate and the noise they generated was was deafening at times. There was a spell in the second half when Wales had phase after phase in England’s 22 but couldn’t break through, then the ball was turned over, Ben Youngs kicked it into touch and Alex Corbisiero described the resultant roar from the crowd as the loudest he had ever heard.
I was hoarse by the end of the match but I enjoyed the game more than many of the dour wins by England in the past. I am so looking forward to seeing this young, exciting new England side take on the French and the Irish in March and then watch them grow as a team over the next months and years.