Liam Williams England make dream start to World Cup preparations with assured win over Wales

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England got off to a dream start on their road to the Rugby World Cup by defeating Wales 33-19, ending their opponents’ historic 14-match winning streak in the process, but a shoulder injury suffered by standout flanker Tom Curry cast a shadow over the impressive victory.

Getting off to their characteristic fast start at Twickenham, England surged into the lead inside four minutes and never looked back, holding on to the advantage despite a Wales fightback early in the second half.

The victory was made all the more impressive given it was an experimental England side that knocked off a full-strength Wales, which featured 12 of the Grand Slam heroes that started in the Six Nations win over Eddie Jones’s side last February. 

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However, it was an England regular who got the ball rolling as man-of-the-match Billy Vunipola dived over for the opening try, with Joe Cokanasiga soon doubling the lead.

Wales fought back with a delightful solo effort from scrum-half Gareth Davies, only to fluff a five-metre lineout on their own line that allowed Luke Cowan-Dickie to dive over just before the break. Like in Cardiff six months ago, Wales started the second half emphatically, with George North and replacement prop Wyn Jones cutting the lead to just five points going into the final quarter.

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