England rekindle Six Nations title hopes as defending champions Wales' bid all but over

England's hopes of a shot at the Six Nations title remain intact after they beat Wales at Twickenham Credit: PA Images

Wales' hopes of defending their Six Nations title are effectively over after they were beaten by a ruthless England side at Twickenham.

Eddie Jones' men put in a strong performance in front of their own fans to extend their unbeaten home run in this fixture in the Six Nations.

Wales did mount an impressive fightback in the second half but it was not enough to reverse the deficit after England had gone in at the break 12 points in front and added to their lead in the second half.

The win rekindles England's hopes of a shot at a Six Nations title. Meanwhile Welsh hopes of retaining their title have effectively been extinguished.

In a show of solidarity with the people of Ukraine, England Rugby published a joint statement on social media condemning the ongoing violence.

In a Twitter post, they wrote: "England and Wales strongly condemn the aggressive invasion of Ukraine.

"We stand in solidarity with them."

Wales went to Twickenham searching for their first Six Nations win there in ten years Credit: PA Images

Wales entered the contest searching for their first Six Nations win over England on their own turf since 2012.

With fond memories of their thrilling performance in the 2015 World Cup, there had been Welsh hopes of emulating the highs of that night seven years ago.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George were in the stands for the Six Nations clash Credit: PA Images

But it was England, known for fast starts in this fixture, who came flying out the traps.

A direct phase of play from the home side led to a penalty, with Marcus Smith putting England ahead in the opening couple of minutes.

Just two minutes later Smith had doubled that lead, again from a penalty.

England put in a strong defensive first half performance against Wales Credit: PA Images

Wales then mounted some attacks of their own although England managed to cope with the spell of red pressure.

Smith had the chance, again from a penalty, to put England nine in front. However, mercifully for Wales, he sent his effort just wide.

The challenge in front of them grew larger for Wales after Liam Williams was shown a yellow card for using his hands whilst part of a breakdown.

England were later forced to make a change after Luke Cowan-Dickie suffered a knee injury; Jamie George introduced in his place.

Smith would soon atone for his earlier penalty miss on the half-hour mark, this time sending his kick firmly between the posts to put England nine points ahead.

And, in what felt like a recurring theme of the first half and with the last kick of the half, Smith furthered England's lead with a calmly taken penalty; England 12 - Wales 0.

Marcus Smith was ruthless with his kicking in the first half Credit: PA Images

England started the second half in a similar vein to how they started the first, although this time they had a try to show for it.

Wales were caught napping at a lineout, allowing Alex Dombrandt to collect, cross and score the first try of his England career.

It took 53 minutes for the first Welsh breakthrough, Josh Adams collecting a fine pass from Tomos Williams to finally chalk some points on the board.

There could have been more had captain Dan Biggar not sent his conversion wide.

Despite the missed conversion the try had a galvanising effect on Wales, who went at England with a renewed resolve.

And they would soon find a way through again. Nick Tompkins squeezed a way through England's defensive line to cross.

Biggar, this time, made his conversion count.

Sensing a Wales comeback, England head coach Eddie Jones looked to call in reinforcements from the bench and helped make England rugby history in the process.

Ben Youngs was introduced in place of Harry Randall, meaning Youngs is now the most capped English mens player of all time with 115 caps.

Jones' reshuffle looked to have made an impact on the flow of the game and it was Smith, so ruthless with his penalties, who scored two in fairly quick succession to extend England's lead to eleven points and give the home side a fair amount of breathing space.

Wales did get a try in the dying minutes of the second half courtesy of Kieran Hardy, reducing England's lead to four points, although it was not enough to complete the comeback.

Wales next play France on Friday 11 March. While England will play Ireland on Saturday 12 March.