England flip script to avert repeat setback

LONDON • Eddie Jones praised England for avoiding more "horror movie drama" on Welsh soil following a 24-13 Autumn Nations Cup rugby win over Wales last Saturday.

Victory meant England booked a place in Sunday's Nations Cup final against France, who beat Italy 36-5 at Twickenham.

The Six Nations champions did not have things all their own way, however, and were only 11-7 ahead come half-time at Parc Y Scarlets.

But Mako Vunipola's second-half try, allied to England captain Owen Farrell's kicking, saw them to victory after Wales led through Johnny Williams' converted try.

That meant there was no repeat of last year's Six Nations clash in Cardiff, where England led 10-3 at the break only for Wales to run out 21-13 winners.

"At half-time it could have been a 'Psycho' horror movie," England coach Jones told reporters as he compared his team's position to one of the most notorious murder scenes in movie history.

"It was the exact same situation as the game in the Millennium Stadium where we did most of the play in the first, were slightly ahead. Wales did a few things at the end of the first half to put us off our game and then we had a choice at half-time of how we would react. Would we allow them to continue or do we stick to our game? The boys showed really good tactical discipline to stick to our game."

England's win was built on scrum and line-out dominance, with the former Australia and Japan coach conceding their attacking play could be improved.

England now have a chance to gain revenge for their 24-17 loss to Les Bleus in February and they can do so in front of 2,000 fans.

Supporters are set to be back at Twickenham for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic in March and Jones believes his players will lift their game. "We want to make sure we put on a performance that lights up people's eyes when they sit there," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2020, with the headline 'England flip script to avert repeat setback'. Print Edition | Subscribe