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Gatland hails history-makers Wales

Date

Julian Guyer

Wales players celebrate victory with the Triple Crown. Click for more photos

Wales claim Triple Crown

Wales claim the Triple Crown after downing England at Twickenham in a thriller. Photo: Getty Images

LONDON: Wales coach Warren Gatland praised a "potentially outstanding" side after seeing the World Cup semi-finalists come from behind to beat England 19-12 on Saturday and win the Triple Crown.

MATCH REPORT

There were fewer than five minutes left on the clock when, with the score at 12-12, following four penalties apiece from England's Owen Farrell and Wales's Leigh Halfpenny, the Welsh scored the only try of the match.

Replacement back Scott Williams stripped the ball from Courtney Lawes and then regathered his own kick downfield.

But England, who arguably delivered their best performance of Stuart Lancaster's reign before losing for the first time in three matches under the interim coach, came again.

They almost had a try with the last move of an absorbing match when wing David Strettle went in at he corner while being challenged by Wales centre Jonathan Davies.

But after several minutes of nailbiting analysis, video referee Iain Ramage ruled 'no try' to the despair of the bulk of a Twickenham crowd of more than 81,000, although had the score been awarded England would still have needed a successful conversion to draw the game.

Referee Steve Walsh blew for time and Wales had won their first Triple Crown - when one of the four Home Unions beats all the others in a single Six Nations season - at Twickenham.

"I'm very proud," said Gatland. "This group of players have made a piece of history with the Triple Crown at Twickenham."

But the New Zealander had no problems in conceding his side had been pushed all the way by a youthful England team.

"England were very good with their blitz defence and their tackles.

"They didn't make it easy for us, but we scrummaged well and in the end I think we had just a little more firepower."

Victory was only Wales's second win at Twickenham since 1988, the last coming four years ago when Gatland's first game in charge yielded a 26-19 win that set up a Grand Slam.

Another Six Nations clean sweep is in Wales's sights as they look ahead to concluding matches at home to Italy and France -- the team that edged them out in a dramatic World Cup semi-final.

"This is a young group with a little bit of experience who potentially could be outstanding," said Gatland of his talented line-up.

"We have a bit of depth throughout the side and it is a team to get excited about. If we get a good win against Italy we can prepare with confidence for the game against France."

Wales had been 12-6 behind at one stage and were also a man down for 10 minutes early in the second half when Priestland was yellow-carded.

But, with captain Sam Warburton in outstanding form as exemplified by his try-saving tackle on Manu Tuilagi, Wales battled back to win without being at their best.

"We didn't play well at all today," man-of-the-match Warburton said.

"We knew it was going to be our toughest game so far, knew England are a quality outfit and that was one hell of a Test match," the openside flanker added.

"To get the Triple Crown is unbelievable. I'm not going to jinx myself, I'm not going to say it (Grand Slam)."

Lancaster, bidding to become the permanent successor to Martin Johnson in the face of competition from former South Africa and Italy supremo Nick Mallett, was proud of his inexperienced side.

"Wales are a team who have been together a long, long time and we are a team that has been together for three weeks. We should take great credit from that."

AFP

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Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Stats
BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Stats
BUL 17 vs STO 29 Stats
WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27 vs BLU 16 Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG vs RED 17:35FBS
FOR vs HUR 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT vs BLU 04:10FSS
CHF vs CRU 17:35WS
REB vs BRU 19:40AAMI
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL vs SHA 02:05Loftus Versfeld
LIO vs STO 04:10Emirates Airlines Park
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Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs HIG 17:35WS
BRU vs FOR 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU vs LIO 17:35QBE Stadium
RED vs WAR 19:40SS
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT vs BUL 02:05FSS
STO vs SHA 04:10DHL Newlands
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Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs BLU 17:35FMG Stadium
FOR vs REB 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU vs LIO 14:30AMI
HIG vs WAR 17:35FBS
RED vs BRU 19:40SS
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO vs CHF 00:00DHL Newlands
CHT vs SHA 02:05FSS
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Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG vs HUR 17:35FBS
REB vs LIO 19:40AAMI
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU vs CHT 17:35AMI
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL vs FOR 02:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA vs CHF 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
WAR vs BRU 16:05AS
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Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs REB 17:35WS
RED vs LIO 20:00SS
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs CHT 14:30WS
HIG vs STO 17:35FBS
WAR vs BLU 19:40AS
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA vs FOR 02:05Growthpoint Kings Park
BUL vs CRU 04:10Loftus Versfeld
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Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs STO 18:35WS
REB vs RED 20:40AAMI
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CHF vs BLU 18:35WS
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SHA vs CRU 01:00Growthpoint Kings Park
LIO vs BUL 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
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Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU vs BRU 18:35EP
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HIG 18:35AMI
WAR vs STO 20:40AS
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BUL vs RED 00:00Loftus Versfeld
LIO vs SHA 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
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Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs CHF 18:35AMI
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR vs WAR 15:30WS
HIG vs BLU 18:35FBS
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF vs FOR 18:35WS
BRU vs HIG 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs BLU 18:35AMI
WAR vs REB 20:40ANZ
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO vs CHT 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO vs BUL 04:10DHL Newlands
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Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG vs SHA 18:35FBS
BRU vs WAR 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs FOR 16:30EP
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BUL vs LIO 04:10Loftus Versfeld
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Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs RED 18:35AMI
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FOR vs WAR 20:40nib Stadium
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STO vs BRU 02:05DHL Newlands
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Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
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RED vs REB 20:40SS
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Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF vs BUL 18:35Rotorua International Stadium
RED vs SHA 20:40SS
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
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Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
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STO vs REB 04:10DHL Newlands
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Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HUR 18:35Trafalgar Park
BRU vs BUL 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA vs REB 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
HIG vs CHF 18:35Rugby Park
FOR vs RED 20:40nib Stadium
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LIO vs WAR 04:10Emirates Airlines Park
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Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR vs HIG 18:35McLean Park
FOR vs BRU 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB vs BUL 16:30AAMI
BLU vs CRU 18:35EP
RED vs CHF 20:40SS
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CHT vs WAR 00:00FSS
STO vs LIO 02:05DHL Newlands
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Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HIG 18:35EP
REB vs FOR 20:40AAMI
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BRU vs CRU 16:30GIO Stadium
CHF vs HUR 18:35Yarrow Stadium
WAR vs RED 20:40AS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL vs CHT 02:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA vs STO 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
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Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
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Round 20
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
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Round 21
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
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Stormers 2 2 0 0 23 8
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