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AFP / Adrian DENNIS
Billy Vunipola has scored seven tries in 41 Tests for England

England denied Wales top spot in the world rankings as Billy Vunipola led a fine forward effort in a 33-19 win at Twickenham on Sunday in their opening Rugby World Cup warm-up match.

Six Nations champions Wales, who kicked off on the back of a 14-match unbeaten streak, would have gone top of the standings following reigning world champions New Zealand’s shock 47-26 loss to Australia on Saturday had they avoided defeat.

“To have a structured game suits us more and for most of that game we stuck to it,” Vunipola told Sky Sports.

“There were times Wales crept in but they’re a great side and that’s going to happen.”

England, who announce their World Cup squad on Monday, led by 17 points early in the second half before two Wales tries in quick succession from George North and replacement Wyn Jones that cut the gap to just five points.

England had squandered a 31-0 lead in a 38-38 draw with Scotland last time out in March. Back then they p

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