Wales on top of the world after beating England
Wales went top of rugby union’s world rankings for the first time after beating England 13-6 in Cardiff.
Wales’ rise to the summit, which ended New Zealand’s unbroken 10-year occupation, comes just 34 days before the World Cup kicks off in Japan.
It was an impressive warm-up performance for the tournament as they reeled off an 11th successive home win.
Wing George North’s 34th-minute try sent Wales on their way to avenging a 33-19 defeat at Twickenham last weekend, while Dan Biggar converted and kicked a penalty to leave England 10 points adrift at half-time.
But there was an injury scare for Wales when Biggar took two blows to his left shoulder – he eventually went off five minutes from time – only six days after his fellow number 10 Gareth Anscombe suffered a World Cup-ending knee injury.
England were slicker and more cohesive after the break, but Wales restricted them to a couple of George Ford penalties before a late Leigh Halfpenny strike sealed victory.
Centre Piers Francis and prop Dan Cole delivered strong performances for England in their first game since head coach Eddie Jones announced his 31-man World Cup squad.
Wales, though, had enough in the tank to close matters out ahead of a week’s training in Turkey and resuming pre-World Cup action against Ireland in a fortnight’s time.