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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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Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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