World Cup spices up Wales, England clash

Wales versus England remains a rugby test match that never fails to whet the appetite and stir emotions, and this year there is the added spice of a World Cup largely on English soil in which the two long-time rivals have been drawn in the same tough pool.

Bragging rights are up for grabs in this evening’s match at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, where 10 years ago Gavin Henson nailed a long-range penalty that handed the Welsh victory over England and opened the way to a first grand slam in 27 years.

After Warren Gatland took over in 2007, the Wales team went on to clinch grand slams in 2008 and 2012 and the title in 2013, but have been unable to translate that form on a consistent level against the southern hemisphere giants of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

They did manage to edge a weary-looking Springbok team in November, as England beat Australia, nicely setting up tonight’s match as both teams strive to consolidate and build momentum with one eye firmly on the World Cup.

For it is only eight months until Wales and England meet again in their crunch pool match at Twickenham on September 26 – crunch because the pool also includes the Wallabies and unpredictable Fiji, with only two qualifying for the knock-out phase.

-The Herald Reporter 

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