The Dragons are leading the race to win their 40th Six Nations title, which would take them one ahead of England in total victories.
Words By Max Kilham
Three games in, Wales sit atop the table, with 19 points, nine ahead of France, who have played one game less.
The Welsh have looked commanding in all of their victories so far, with their victory against England last Saturday wrapping up the Triple Crown. An ultimately convincing 7-48 victory over Italy has made it unlikely that they will drop outside the top two, with France now the only real challengers.
In previous weeks, the Welsh secured a narrow win against Ireland 21-16 and an even tighter 24-25 victory over Scotland at the Murrayfield Stadium. However, against England, the affair was much more straight forward. Despite a closely contested first half, in which the score was 17-14 at the break, tries from Josh Adams, Kieran Hardy, Liam Williams and Cory Hill were enough to see the Dragons to victory. However, there was a fair amount of controversy involved within the game. Adams’ try was deemed questionable as there were water carriers on the field, with England captain Farrell arguing that there was no chance for his team to prepare after a talk from the referee concerning England’s discipline.
Referee Pascal Gaüzère ultimately ignored the complaints from the England camp and awarded the try. As per the Guardian, Farrell made no excuses for the loss, not wanting to use to disputed try as an excuse for the result:
“It’s not for us to talk about ref decisions, we got ourselves back in the game and didn’t do enough from that position.
“There’s no point in talking about what we can’t control, we need to focus on what we can control.
“It’s the whole team’s job to be better with discipline.”
Wales Coach Wayne Pivac spoke to BBC One and displayed his ecstacy at the victory:
“It’s been a big few weeks for us, I’m very, very pleased for the players that put a big effort in this evening.
“Some people will say it has been on our side the last three matches but you have to be in games to win them.
“England put a lot of pressure on us and came back. It was a hell of a game and a lot of resilience from our boys.
“When you give away that many penalties, one player five penalties, you are lucky to not to concede a yellow. You could argue either way.
“He [Sheedy] made amends tonight and like all the players that came on, he made an impact.
“We picked a squad to get results to win this tournament, we’ve had time together and a good bond in the group.
“They enjoy winning and hopefully we can press on further.”
Conversely, England are having one of their worst tournaments in recent memory. Two losses in their opening three games, against both Scotland and Wales, was hardly the start to 2021 that England coach Eddie Jones had in mind. Jones also spoke to BBC One after the defeat against Wales. Like Farrell, he refused to be drawn into a debate over refereeing decisions, whilst also praising the Welsh outfit for their performance:
“It is what it is. We can’t argue with the referee. The result’s there and we’ve got to accept it.
“Maybe there were tough calls but we’ve got to be good enough to overcome that.
“I’m not going to make a comment on it. I accept the referee’s decision. We’ve got to be good enough to handle it.
“Wales were worthy winners. I was pleased with how our players fought back to 24-24. The last play summed up our day. We did some fine work and they scored down the other end.
“We’re probably trying too hard. I thought the effort today was outstanding. It was a difficult game for us. We’ve got to be able to adapt to those emotional disruptions and officiating disruptions.
“Maro Itoje gave away a few penalties today but he’s such a good player and he’ll learn from that.”
Elsewhere, Scotland lost narrowly once again, 24-27 to Ireland, whilst England’s 23-20 defeat of France has handed les Bleus an uphill battle.