Six Nations 2016: North and Wales try 'more Carmarthen than Man Utd'

By Richard WilliamsBBC Wales Sport
Six Nations: England v Wales
Date: Saturday, 12 March Venue: Twickenham Stadium Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C & online, live radio commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary. Highlights on Scrum V Sunday on BBC Two Wales

Wales set up a potential Six Nations rugby showdown with England thanks to a piece of football skill that was "more Carmarthen Town than Manchester United."

Wing George North's key try six minutes into the second half opened a decisive 13-point lead that Warren Gatland's team never looked like relinquishing on their way to a 19-10 win.

As tries go it was a metaphor for a match which started with the Principality Stadium roof malfunctioning and much of the rugby following suit.

It started well. Sam Warburton's crunching tackle forced a turnover, and Jonathan Davies kicked past a French defence which North left for dead.

With the line at his mercy North missed the ball altogether, but then had the ball kicked back to him by France fly-half Jules Plisson and gratefully dived over to score. It would have been rude not to.

George North pounces for his try for Wales against France
George North's try against France was his 25th for Wales

Davies summed the try up: "More like Carmarthen Town than Man United," he said.

"We were fortunate with the bounce, but sometimes that happens."

Captain Warburton added: "George has taken a bit of stick in the changing room over it,"

True. But probably not as much as Plisson.

Gatland gets his wish

If the end is more important than the means then Wales coach Warren Gatland, at least, is satisfied.

After the 16-16 draw with Ireland in the opening round of matches, the New Zealander said his team's objectives were clear, beat Scotland and France at home.

Wales' fifth consecutive win over France delivered his wish.

Now they go to Twickenham on 12 March hoping to follow up their 28-25 World Cup victory with another win at the home of English rugby.

It's a big ask

To put that in its historical perspective, the last time Wales won consecutive games in Twickenham was in 1978.

More from BBC Wales Sport
Wales 19-10 France
Prop Jenkins doubt for England game
Warburton wants extra from Wales

Gareth Edwards was becoming the first Welshman to make 50 international appearances for his country and helped Wales to a 9-6 win in the kind of mudbath you don't see in modern Test rugby.

Gatland has led Welsh teams to wins three times at Twickenham - but never two in a row.

To quote Graham Henry, another Kiwi who coached Wales, it's a big ask.

Confidence and belief

"It's a great stadium and we love going and playing there, and they're a quality team," said Gatland.

"We've been there on a few occasions and won there so you've got to have that confidence and believe that you're able to do it.

"That's why today was so important because the victory keeps us in this championship and if we'd lost then basically we would have been out of it.

"It doesn't matter who wins between England and Ireland - there's still a lot to play for in two weeks."

Penalties count against Wales

One thing Gatland says his team will have to do to have any chance against England is concede fewer penalties.

"We have a rule amongst the squad to concede 10 penalties or fewer," he said.

"I think it was getting up to double that today - it was 17 in the end. So we'll have to improve on that."

Eddie Jones' England are likely to have a sharper cutting edge. It would be too much for Wales to expect England to be be as generous as France.

But, like with North on Friday, any gifts will be gratefully accepted. Just don't expect the Beautiful Game.

Top Stories