Wales Crushes England's Grand Slam Hopes to Defend Six Nations Title

Cuthbert on target in 30-3 win at the Millenium stadium.

CARDIFF - Two second-half tries from Alex Cuthbert saw Wales crush England 30-3 at the Millenium stadium in Cardiff yesterday to successfully defend their Six Nations title.

England went into the championship decider knowing that victory would secure a first Grand Slam since 2003 while even a seven-point loss could see them securing the championship.

England had won all four of their away games in the competition under Stuart Lancaster, three last season and in Dublin last month, but it was the home fans, who had had to endure five successive home defeats spanning more than a year, who were celebrating a truly special occasion. England's only two Six Nations defeats in two seasons have been against Wales.

Wales had not conceded a try since the 42nd minute of their opening week defeat by Ireland and, had they woken up at kickoff instead of just after halftime in that match, they could well have been celebrating a second successive clean sweep.

However, despite trailing just 9-3 at the break, Stuart Lancaster's side was unable to cope with the intensity of the home side's second-half performance and was comprehensively beaten.

"It's a bit unreal really, I think it's a dream," man of the match Justin Tupuric told the BBC. "I never thought we would play so well in front of a great crowd."

Leigh Halfpenny scored all of the Welsh points in the first half from penalties with England's only score coming from the boot of Owen Farrell after Sam Warbuton was penalized.

Dan Biggar also missed a drop goal on the stroke of half-time but in a completely one-sided second half, Halfpenny slotted over another penalty to stretch interim coach Robert Howley's side's lead before Cuthbert went over in the corner for his first try after 56 minutes.

Although Halfpenny missed the resultant conversion, Biggar made it 20-3 with a drop-goal attempt before a Welsh break saw Tipuric draw the last English defender before passing for Cuthbert to touch down for his fourth try of the tournament.

Biggar converted successfully and also knocked over another penalty to complete the comprehensive win.

Earlier yesterday, Ireland went down 22-15 to Italy in the Stadio Olimpico to suffer a first-ever Six Nations loss at the hands of the Azzurri.

Giovanbattista Venditti scored the only try of the game early in the second half, burrowing over from close range, while the remainder of Italy's points came from the boot of fly-half Luciano Orquera and Gonzalo Garcia. Paddy Jackson secured Ireland's points from five penalty kicks.

Reuters