Six Nations 2015: Bath trio shine as England defeat Wales – Photos
Relive all the action from the championship opener in this photo special as the Red Rose avenge 2013 demolition
Wales kicked off this year’s Six Nations with a powerful display of light and sound at the Millennium Stadium, but after the mind games ended it was a battle of brawn that decided this showpiece encounter.
It wouldn’t be true Test match rugby if it wasn’t a rollercoaster match, complete with thrills, spills and everyone left talking about the latest England generation.
Our rugby photographer rounds up the best images from this thriller in Cardiff.
The calm before the storm on the green, green grass of home at the Millennium Stadium. Only a few people brave the cold night in Cardiff before the masses flock to Welsh rugby’s citadel.
Lights, pyro, action. The Millennium Stadium continues the trend of pulling out all the stops for its annual Friday night Six Nations party, and there is more to come with France and Ireland booked in for 2016 and 2017.
Toulon points machine Leigh Halfpenny quickly has Wales ahead as England concede a penalty in the opening minute.
The night gets better for the vociferous home support inside the opening 10 minutes. French assistant referee Romain Poite has a great view as Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb dives down the right flank to score the opening try of the match.
Memories of the 30-3 demolition of England in Cardiff two years ago flood back for many fans in the stadium, but England’s Bath Rugby backline trio pull the plug on that, starting with winger Anthony Watson’s try in the first half.
I get knocked out, but I get up again. Wales wing George North goes off for concussion checks in the first-half before returning seemingly okay to go on. He also sufered a second blow to the head missed by the Welsh medical team.
Save the best for last. Dan Biggar, complete with head bandages after a facial laceration, lands a drop-goal to give Wales a 16-8 lead with the last kick of the first half. They wouldn’t score again.
Don’t stop believin’. England’s warriors shine brightest in the second half as their number 13 goes over for a crucial second try after 20 phases of patient build-up play. Manu Who-ilagi? Bath’s Jonathan Joseph lives up to the hype.
I did it my way, but not quite. Wasps captain James Haskell goes postal on his way to the tryline, but Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert and Taulupe Faletau hold him up. A red sees yellow. It’s in the bag.
Give it away is what Wales did from 10-0, 16-8 and 16-15 up and there is no slowing Ford down on his way to the man of the match award as he bangs over two late penalties.
An emotional cocktail. Jubilation and despair as referee Jerome Garces blows the final whistle. England, the victors. Their sweet chariot ready to carry them home to take on Italy. Wales, only themselves to blame. Next week they must rage against the dying of the light for a Celtic battle against Scotland in Edinburgh.
The magnficent seven celebrate a happy ending from the comfort of the England dressing room.