Alun Wyn Jones revealed frustrations with Wales' first-half sloppiness after they succumbed to England on Saturday, suffering a third straight Six Nations defeat.

Grand Slam champions in 2019, Wales have endured a disappointing campaign this year despite crushing strugglers Italy in their opening match.

Defeats to Ireland, France and now England put paid to any hopes of defending their title, and captain Jones was particularly exasperated by his side's latest reverse.

Wales went down 33-30 at Twickenham, but only late tries against 13 men narrowed England's lead after Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly and Manu Tuilagi - later dismissed - crossed for the hosts.

Jones suggested Wales were always struggling to recover from an opening period in which Watson scored inside four minutes and Daly added to the home advantage.

He also highlighted the repeated penalties that allowed Owen Farrell and George Ford to keep the scoreboard ticking over for England.

"I was lamenting a couple of territory giveaways in the first half," the Wales captain told ITV Sport. "We gave them two possessions in the 22, went to two lineouts, and it was two tries.

"You're chasing the game a little bit. Then we got the three to stay on the scoreboard at the end of the half and then a great riposte at the start of the second half.

"Unfortunately, they obviously capitalised on a couple of our indisciplines in our 22 and kept the scoreboard at bay.

"It shows what we can do with those last two tries. If we keep the ball, we can score. It's just too little, too late, in the end."

However, England star Ben Youngs paid tribute to Wales as they refused to give up on a seemingly lost cause.

"Whenever we started to feel like we got ascendancy or control, Wales are so good at just staying in the fight, and they stayed in and battled hard," Youngs said.

"Our discipline probably just gave them easy leg-ups. They're clinical enough to punish you and it showed in the last 20 minutes, where we were basically camped in our own 22 and couldn't get out. It was tight in the end."

The returning Anthony Watson set England on their way to a 33-30 win at home to Wales that keeps their Six Nations title challenge on track.

With Grand Slam contenders France not in action against Scotland until Sunday, Eddie Jones' England piled on the pressure with a hard-fought triumph at Twickenham.

The hosts were boosted by the inclusion of wing Watson in the XV for the first time in the tournament, and he got the first of three England tries.

Elliot Daly crossed later in the first half and, after Justin Tipuric raced through for Wales at the start of the second period, Manu Tuilagi secured a third win in four matches for England before being sent off with five minutes remaining. Dan Biggar and Tipuric grabbed consolation tries for Wales in the closing moments, earning them a losing bonus point.

It took Watson less than four minutes to make his mark, dancing through a pair of tackles after a smart move from a lineout on the right to score the opening points.

An eventful start continued as Jonny May departed with a head injury before a scuffle broke out in front of the England try line, prompting a penalty against Owen Farrell that Leigh Halfpenny dispatched over the posts.

Farrell and Halfpenny traded further successful trips to the kicking tee as the match settled slightly, but a spell of England pressure resulted in their second try after 32 minutes as the hosts worked the ball from right to left and Daly steamed up the outside to lunge over.

Another Farrell penalty stretched England's lead again, only for some sloppy play to allow Biggar to boot a response heading into half-time.

And Wales came out for the restart with renewed vigour, scoring inside 30 seconds through a stunning counter that sent Tipuric clear under the posts.

But England continued to forge opportunities for their kickers, with Farrell adding three more points before George Ford assumed the responsibilities - his captain struggling with a dead leg - and followed suit.

Successive scores seemed to dampen Wales' spirits, and a patient England move made space for Tuilagi to walk in on the left.

A slew of late penalties against England resulted in a yellow card for Ellis Genge, and Tuilagi departed for a shoulder charge to George North's head.

That allowed first Biggar and then Tipuric to score against 13 scrambling white shirts, but the late tries proved only enough to rescue the bonus point.


Watson wastes little time

England had been shorn of their star wing since the Rugby World Cup final, and Watson made sure to quickly show Jones just what he had been missing. His 18th international try combined skill, speed and strength in impressive fashion from the first notable attack of the match.

Captain Farrell unflappable

This was a niggly game, best evidenced by the clash Farrell became involved in early on, but England made the most of each Welsh foul. Farrell's kicking from various ranges was typically clinical, taking the match away from Wales each time they threatened a recovery.

What's next?

England must wait to learn when they might fulfil their final fixture against Italy, who have seen consecutive matches postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Wales complete their disappointing campaign at home to Scotland next Saturday.

Former Wales centre Matthew J Watkins has died at the age of 41, the Welsh Rugby Union has announced.

Watkins, who won 18 caps for his country, was diagnosed with pelvic cancer in 2013. The disease later spread to his head, Watkins revealed in January.

He began his career as a teenager with hometown club Newport, before moving on to Llanelli, becoming part of the Scarlets side in the early years of regional rugby in Wales.

Spells with Gloucester and the Dragons followed before Watkins retired in 2011. His first Wales cap came in 2003, against Italy.

The national team will wear black armbands against England in Saturday's Six Nations match in memory of Watkins.

The Scarlets said they were "deeply saddened" by news of Watkins' death, describing him as "a silky-skilled, creative midfielder, who was a hugely popular figure among our supporters, the playing squad and staff".

Expressing similar sorrow, the Dragons said Watkins, who raised many thousands of pounds for cancer charities, would "be missed by so many".

Eddie Jones has warned Wales his England team "owe them one" after a 2019 Six Nations defeat that still irks him.

England were beaten 21-13 in Cardiff last year and Wales went on to win a Grand Slam.

Jones' side have the chance to atone for that loss at Twickenham on Saturday, with the head coach quick to remind his players about the opportunity they let slip in last year's tournament.

"You have got to remember we owe them one – you never like to lose to Wales, and we lost last year," he said.

"We were in position [leading] at half-time and we have learned from that. That was one of the key games that got us in our best condition for the World Cup.

"But it is still a game that I'm sure irks every England player who played in it. It certainly irks me."

England have recovered from their opening matchday loss to France with victories over Scotland and Ireland.

Jones insists he has not needed to mention the prospect of a Triple Crown to motivate his players and is thrilled with how his squad has come on during the Six Nations.

He added: "No, not at all, The only motivation is beating Wales. That is motivation enough.

"We have probably just had our best training run of the Six Nations. We have gone up another level.

"We are not far underneath where we were at the World Cup now in terms of physical condition and in terms of the intensity we can potentially play with.

"It has always been the goal to peak for this week. This was always going to be the crux game of the Six Nations for us so we deliberately had quite a slow build-up to it so we are at our best this week."

But Jones warned: "Wales were very unlucky to be beaten by France – all the stats from that game indicate they should have won it so we are going to be playing a very, very tough team.

"Wales are a well-coached team, we know they have lost their last two matches so they will come hard at us. They are always tough affairs that go down to the wire."

Scotland go in search of another Murrayfield triumph over Grand Slam hopefuls France this weekend, and England will look to put the pressure on the Six Nations leaders with a win over Wales.

The postponement of Ireland's encounter with Italy due to concerns over the coronavirus leaves just two round-four matches to look forward to.

France passed a big test in their bid to be crowned champions for the first time in a decade when they beat Wales last time out, and now Scotland, buoyed by a win over Italy, will be the next side to try and burst Les Bleus' bubble.

England are four points behind Fabien Galthie's side after a defeat of Ireland at Twickenham and will have home advantage again when they take on the defending champions.

With Opta data, we preview the clashes in London on Saturday and Edinburgh.

England v Wales

- England have won five of their last six games against Wales in the Six Nations, the one defeat coming last year.

- The Red Rose have lost just one of their last 20 home games in the competition (against Ireland in 2018 - W18, D1) and their 18 wins in that time have been by an average margin of 17 points.

- Wales have lost back-to-back matches and have not endured a longer run of defeats in the championship since a five-game drought across the 2006 and 2007 campaigns.

- Wales prop Dillon Lewis has hit more rucks (107) than any other player at the 2020 Six Nations. Maro Itoje (103) is second on the list and the England player has also hit more attacking rucks (85) than anyone else.

Scotland v France

-  Scotland have won each of their last two home games against France in the Six Nations, but Les Bleus have won 17 of their last 20 encounters with the Scots in the championship.

- Galthie and Gregor Townsend faced off against each four times in their international playing careers, with the present France head coach coming out on top on each occasion.

- France are the only side to maintain a 100 per cent scrum success rate on their own feed (10/10) in the Six Nations and have the best gain-line success rate of any side (48 per cent).

- Scotland have missed just 46 tackles in the Six Nations this year, the fewest of any side, and subsequently have the best tackle success rate (90 per cent).

Wayne Pivac believes a step up in intensity in training has him sure his Wales side will come up with the goods in their Six Nations clash with England.

Wales have lost their last two Tests, going down to Ireland and France respectively heading into Saturday's contest at Twickenham, where they have not won in eight years.

However, Pivac has sensed a change in mentality from his side during their recent training sessions, with the coach signalling out captain Alun Wyn Jones as the epitome of this shift to a more intense approach.

"The level of intensity has noticeably gone up in training, certainly in the live stuff and it has been no holds barred," Pivac, who replaced Warren Gatland after the Rugby World Cup, told reporters.

"No one has been holding back. That tells me a big performance is coming.

"You've only got to listen to Alun Wyn during the week. The intensity is there in his voice and everything he's done in training. He's led from the front."

Saturday's game will be the first time Pivac has gone up against England as a coach, though he does not think Eddie Jones' team will hold many surprises for his side.

"With my background coming from New Zealand we look at England like the Welsh do," said Pivac.

"They're a strong team, one of the world leaders, and a very capable team as we saw at the World Cup against the All Blacks and last week against Ireland. They put away two of the top teams in the world comfortably.

"There is a healthy respect, but it's a game we're looking forward to. Me included."

Taulupe Faletau has been dropped in one of four changes for Wales' trip to England in a crunch Six Nations clash on Saturday.

Josh Navidi will play at number eight after overcoming a hamstring problem, while the reigning champions welcome back Liam Williams following an ankle injury sustained at the Rugby World Cup, with Tomos Williams and Dan Biggar also returning.

Rob Evans comes into the front-row for his first start since the 2019 competition, with head coach Wayne Pivac excited by the challenge ahead at Twickenham after back-to-back losses against Ireland and France.

"We've had a good two weeks and we are really excited about heading up to Twickenham for what will be a huge Six Nations clash," he said

"We have had the chance to put the disappointments of the loss to France behind us and we know heading to London we need to be more clinical in attack and convert the opportunities that we are creating.

"Liam's return to full fitness is a positive after the loss of Josh [Adams], as is the return of Josh Navidi.

"We have been targeting this game for both of their returns and they have trained really well, so it's a great opportunity for them on Saturday."

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Nick Tompkins, Hadleigh Parkes, Liam Williams, Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams, Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones, Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Rhys Carre, Leon Brown, Aaron Shingler, Taulupe Faletau, Rhys Webb, Jarrod Evans, Johnny McNicholl 

Fit-again England duo Mark Wilson and Anthony Watson will make their first appearance of the Six Nations against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.

Wilson replaces the injured Sam Underhill at openside flanker after recovering from a knee problem.

Watson is back on the wing at the expense of Bath team-mate Jonathan Joseph following a spell on the sidelines with a calf injury.

They are the only changes to the XV that started a 24-12 victory over Ireland last time out, as the Rugby World Cup runners-up eye a victory over the defending champions to put the pressure on leaders France.

Eddie Jones named his team on Thursday as the RFU waited to discover whether the final-round match against Italy in Rome on March 14 will be postponed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Jones said: "We've had a really good two week preparation – a fallow week in Oxford where we had good training days last Thursday and Friday and three good training days this week culminating in a very good session Wednesday.

"Wales are a very tough, well-coached side and they've been building on their attack since Wayne Pivac has taken over.

"It's always a tough game against Wales and we know they will bring that toughness to all the contest areas. We're looking forward to playing at home again and getting back out in front of our fantastic fans."

 

England: Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes, Mark Wilson, Tom Curry.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Joe Launchbury, Charlie Ewels, Ben Earl, Willi Heinz, Henry Slade.

Martin Johnson believes finding consistency of performance is key for England as they aim to keep their Six Nations hopes alive against a Wales team he feels are "not that far away" despite back-to-back defeats.

England welcome Wales to Twickenham on Saturday knowing they cannot afford to suffer their second loss of the tournament, with unbeaten France taking on Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Eddie Jones' men have recovered from a disappointing opening defeat to France with successive victories over Scotland and Ireland.

The 2019 World Cup finalists were vastly improved against Ireland and led 17-0 at half-time before closing out a 24-12 win.

A similar showing will likely be required against Wales, whose results do not necessarily reflect their performances, according to England's 2003 World Cup-winning captain and former head coach.

"I think the big thing for England as a team is just that consistency of performance," Land Rover ambassador Johnson told Stats Perform.

"That was Eddie's statement at the start of the tournament, the best teams when you look back over history they didn't play that badly.

"They might have got beaten but they didn't beat themselves, they were very, very difficult to beat. To beat them you had to play bloody well. There's no-one quite like that in the tournament at the moment."

As for Wales, who nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback from 27-16 down in their 27-24 loss to France last time out, Johnson said: "Wales played to the last second, on another day they come back and win that game, which I thought they still would do with about 20 minutes to go.

"They're not that far away, in saying that they've got a couple of defeats. When you saw the sort of cold stats of them losing to Ireland you thought, 'Wow that's a bit of a hiding', but it wasn't really, they didn't play that badly, they had their opportunities.

"It's pretty close, that's the good thing about the tournament, it's pretty tight and you've just got to go and win your games. Hopefully England-Wales is a classic, I hope it's a classic really ferocious, energetic, fast game and both teams really get into it and there's a good ebb and flow of the game, scores from both teams and ultimately England win.

"If Wales can win it, it can put their second half of a tournament in a better perspective. A win at Twickenham for anyone is a good victory and England will be desperate not to lose at home and to win the game because they've still got a sniff of the title if Scotland can do everyone a favour."

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar is expected to be fit to face England despite suffering a knee injury while playing for Northampton Saints against Saracens.

However, Wayne Pivac's men are without wing Josh Adams for the rest of tournament because of an ankle injury.

Wales will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat and, asked if they can be considered vulnerable, Johnson said: "It depends how they react to it [the defeat against France]. If they come out at Twickenham thinking, 'We've got players injured and we're this and we're that and we can't win the title', then you'll probably get beat.

"If you go out thinking, 'We've got 15, they've got 15, let's put them under pressure', then you'll have a chance. It's all about how they approach it, what their attitude is to it.

"The same with England. England have got to come out with the same intent they did against Ireland and put them away. If you get ahead at home, it is difficult for away sides to come back.

"From a neutral's point of view, you probably want England to go ahead early and make a game of it. The joy of people being inconsistent is that you don't know what's going to happen."

Martin Johnson is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover has been helping rugby fans discover the sport for over twenty years. Visit LandRover.co.uk

Steve Borthwick says Mako Vunipola was stood down on medical advice due to England's 24/7 "camp-based environment" - insisting the prop has not been placed in self-isolation amid the coronavirus outbreak.

England on Tuesday revealed that Vunipola will not feature in the Six Nations clash with Wales at Twickenham on Saturday for "medical reasons".

The British and Irish Lion was ruled out after travelling back from Tonga via Hong Kong, but Saracens on Wednesday stated he had been cleared to play for the Premiership champions against Leicester this weekend.

England assistant coach Borthwick explained that the Rugby World Cup runners-up could not take any risks.

"Our medical team looks at our team environment, not other people's," Borthwick told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"And that's the advice we followed. We are a camp-based environment and we stay in together 24 hours a day effectively.

"Mako didn't come into camp on the advice of our medical team, who looked into the situation closely and as a precaution they advised us that the best thing for our environment was for him not to come in.

"Mako is not ill, he is not in self-isolation, but the advice we got for our environment from our medical team and the relevant parties they consulted was that he should not come into camp, and that's the advice we followed."

Mako Vunipola has been cleared to play for Saracens this weekend despite having been stood down by England on "medical grounds".

The powerhouse prop was said to have been in self-isolation as a precaution against the coronavirus, having briefly travelled through Hong Kong en route home from a trip to visit family in Tonga.

However, Sarries insisted Mako and his brother Billy have not been subjected to self-quarantine and neither showed any symptoms linked to the coronavirus.

As such, Mako is available for selection when Sarries face Leicester Tigers in the Premiership on Saturday despite having been ruled out of England's game against Wales.

"Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola returned to Saracens after visiting family in Tonga, which included a short stop at Hong Kong Airport," a Sarries statement read.

"Travellers returning from Hong Kong are not currently subject to mandatory quarantine or self-isolation unless they become symptomatic.

"Neither Billy or Mako have displayed symptoms of the coronavirus (Covid-19) and on their return to London were assessed by the club's medical staff.

"The duo have been around the Saracens environment for the past couple of days, with the latter available for selection this weekend.

"Saracens will continue to follow the Public Health England and World Health Organisation regulations surrounding coronavirus and the medical staff will be closely monitoring Billy and Mako on a regular basis."

Mako, who missed England's win over Ireland due to his visit to Tonga, was included in an initial training squad ahead of the crunch Twickenham encounter against Wales by head coach Eddie Jones.

However, on Tuesday an RFU spokesperson said: "Mako is not in camp on medical grounds. He is not sick but it is a precaution."

Wales are hopeful Dan Biggar will be fit to face England in the Six Nations on Saturday and Liam Williams is set to make his first appearance of the tournament.

Biggar suffered a knee injury during Northampton Saints' Premiership defeat to Saracens last weekend.

The fly-half is on course to play at Twickenham, though, as the defending champions attempt to stop the rot after back-to-back defeats at the hands of Ireland and France.

Former Wales captain Sam Warburton, working as a breakdown specialist in Wayne Pivac's set-up, said of Biggar: "He's looking good.

"The initial signs are positive. He doesn't need a scan. It puts our team selection on hold for a while because we have to wait to see how he turns up tomorrow.

"He's going to train and do stuff with the physios. But everyday so far, the feedback from the physios has been good, he's had a really good response to the stages of physio.

"He's ticking all the boxes he needs to. He's on a good course so, hopefully, with no hiccups, we'll have some good news. There are no guarantees but we're confident at this stage.

"There's a hurdle every day, the training becomes gradually more intense and will climax towards the end of the week. So if he can pass that, then all good. We're taking it day by day but the first two days have been all good.

"I don't know to be honest but I think we'll have a conclusive answer by Friday morning."

Williams has not played since suffering an ankle injury at the Rugby World Cup, but the full-back is poised to face the Red Rose.

Warburton said: "He’s back in full training. He will hopefully be in contention to start.

"This is the sort of cauldron he would love to be thrown into. It will be great to have some big game players back."

Wing Hallam Amos will definitely not feature after he was ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a knee injury.

Mako Vunipola's absence for England's Six Nations clash against Wales is because he is in self-isolation as a precaution against the coronavirus, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has confirmed.

The powerhouse prop was named in a 34-man squad for the Twickenham encounter but was ruled out by forwards coach Matt Proudfoot on "medical reasons" on Wednesday.

It was later confirmed Vunipola did not come into camp as he travelled back from Tonga via Hong Kong at the weekend.

An RFU spokesperson said: "Mako is not in camp on medical grounds. He is not sick but it is a precaution."

Vunipola was missing from England's superb victory over Ireland last time out as he travelled to Tonga for family reasons.

Travellers who have been in areas where the coronavirus has been prevalent have been advised to self-isolate, meaning Vunipola may also be a doubt for England's Six Nations sign-off against Italy on March 14.

Six Nations organisers said this week the intention is for all fixtures to be completed, with Ireland's Dublin contest against Italy, which was due to take place this weekend, having been postponed.

Mako Vunipola is unavailable for England 's crunch Six Nations clash against Wales, who have confirmed Hallam Amos could miss the rest of the season.

Saracens prop Vunipola was absent for England's win over Ireland last time out as he was in Tonga for family reasons.

While Vunipola was named in a 34-man squad on Monday to prepare for Wales at Twickenham, he will not now be involved in the fixture due to a medical problem.

Speaking to Sky Sports, England's forwards coach Matt Proudfoot said: "He's not with us due to medical reasons.

"I won't say injury, it's medical reasons, yeah [he's unavailable]."

Wales, meanwhile, confirmed Amos is to undergo surgery on a knee injury sustained playing in Cardiff Blues' Pro14 victory over Benetton Treviso on February 23.

A Welsh Rugby Union statement revealed it is expected that the wing will also miss the remainder of the campaign.

Six Nations organisers say all remaining fixtures in the tournament will go ahead but the situation will continue to be monitored amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

The round-four clash between Ireland and Italy in Dublin, due to be played this weekend, was postponed last Wednesday in the interest of public health, but the match is due to be rearranged.

No further games have been cancelled following a Six Nations meeting in Paris on Monday.

England's final-weekend trip to Rome to face Italy is schedule to go ahead as planned, but the women's and Under-20 showdowns in Padua and Verona respectively may be relocated.

A Six Nations statement said: "The Six Nations met today in Paris to address the current situation regarding the Covid-19 Virus.

"Six Nations and its six unions and federations are following the situation very closely with their respective governments and relevant health authorities and will strictly follow any directive given that would impact sporting events.

"As it stands today, based on the latest information, all Six Nations matches currently scheduled are set to go ahead.  

"Six Nations is in contact with FIR and RFU regarding the possibility of relocating the Women's and U20 Italy vs England matches to another Italian location and we will make a further announcement on this in due course.

"However, the Italy vs England Senior Men's match in Rome is planned to go ahead as scheduled.

"Six Nations intends to complete all 15 games across all three championships when time allows but we will refrain from making any rescheduling announcements for the time being while we keep assessing the situation."

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