England beat 14-man Wales in dominating display


England bounce back to winning ways at Castle Park with a 43-14 victory over Wales, who were handed a character-building lesson after being dealt a blow with the first-half dismissal of captain Alex Mann.

The visitors started the brighter of the two sides and showed real intent after turning down a simple three points, opting for the corner in the first minute of the match.

The Ospreys’ centre Joe Hawkins set the platform from the lineout whilst dragging three English defenders with him over the gain line, Morgan Veness got them within a metre, and prop Rhys Barratt acrobatically dived over the ruck to go over for the opening score.

England didn’t fancy a repeat of another scoreless match like in round two against Italy, they opened their scoring with a penalty and three points in the 22nd minute.

Like London buses, you wait so long for points to arrive, then more are available not long after, two minutes later they got their first try, winger Cassius Cleaves was put through a gap at the back of a maul, they recycled and spread the ball right to Henry Arundell to score in the corner.

From the resulting kick-off, Emeka Ilione ran the ball back with intent but was met by fellow number 8 and Welsh captain Alex Mann in a ferocious collision, after a review from the TMO and referee, the tackle was adjudged to be direct contact to the head and Mann was shown a red card, half an hour played.

It took the English pack just five minutes to make the man advantage count, driving maul, being steered over the try line by hooker, Finn Theobald-Thomas.

It took the home side just two minutes into the second half to extend their lead, flanker Toby Knight sniping from a breakdown before combining with Ilione who beat the last man Iestyn Hopkins to score.

With chances coming few and far between, Welsh outside half Jac Lloyd gave his side a chance with a perfect 50-22 on the English five-metre line, from the lineout they worked closer to the line with a few drives with Benji Williams having the final drive over the line to give Wales hope.

The home side reacted immediately on 52 minutes, after an Eddie James knock-on in his own 22, from the scrum they work it wide to the far-right touchline, on the way back in field prop Will Hobson steamrolled his way over.

With the game won, England looked to let loose, a lovely overs line from Ethan Grayson got them from 40 metres out into the Welsh 22, quick recycled ball and two passes saw Deago Bailey go over to get his well-deserved try for his hard work.

With Wales throwing the ball around knowing the game was gone, a loose ball found it way to Grayson who put boot to ball, with fullback Arundell beating everyone to kick it on, showing a clean pair of heels to dive over and ground the loose ball.

With the game sealed, Byron Hayward can only look back on an opportunity missed for Wales, if only he had not lost his captain so early on. With England looking just as impressive as they did in the opening round, despite their disappointing result against Italy in round two.

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