Six Nations 2017: Cool heads desert Wales as time ticks onwards

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Six Nations 2017 highlights: Wales 16-21 England
Six Nations: Scotland v Wales
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 25 February Kick-off: 14:25 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales, S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

A lot has happened in the world since 26 September, 2015.

Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States, Britain has voted to leave the European Union and a galaxy of rock and pop stars have left us to join The Great Gig in the Sky.

Saturday, 26 September 2015 - the last time Wales beat England and a turning point for the fortunes of both teams.

The intervening time has seen the old rivals set on contrasting trajectories.

England have lost only once since Wales' heroic rearguard action at Twickenham in that fateful World Cup pool match - their very next game against Australia.

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Liam Williams scores a try

The 28-25 win, however, remains the recent high water mark for Wales.

In the 505 days that have followed, Wales have lost to England three times, New Zealand three times, Australia twice, South Africa once and drawn with Ireland.

And after 505 days this game came down to the last five minutes.

England's nail-biting, nerve-shredding 21-16 victory in the maelstrom of sound and light of Cardiff's Principality Stadium took their winning run under Eddie Jones to 16 matches.

For Wales coach Rob Howley, the knowledge that his team had produced their best 75 minutes of this season was scant consolation when England won the match in the final five minutes.

Where was it won?

"It was an outstanding Test match," said Howley.

"International games are won in the last 10 minutes, where composure, discipline and execution come under pressure.

"We just couldn't get a foothold in the last 10 minutes and when we did we didn't execute as effectively as we would want to.

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Six Nations 2017: 'Composure let Wales down' - Howley

"We haven't got over the finish line today and we've lost, but it's been a fantastic performance apart from the last six or seven minutes.

"Ultimately we've made a couple of errors in the last 10 minutes."

What were those key errors?

There were three incidents which stood out.

Wales lost a key line-out after Dan Biggar had saved a certain try with an interception and kick down field that resulted in eventual match-winner Elliot Daly conceding a throw-in on England's 22.

The second came with less than eight minutes remaining when Alex Cuthbert - in for the injured George North - coughed-up possession as Wales tried to run down the clock deep in England's territory.

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English grit won us the game - Jones

The third, and most damaging, was Jonathan Davies' miss-hit clearance kick after Wales had turned over English possession deep in their own 22 with less than four minutes remaining.

George Ford fielded, England attacked down the left flank and Daly outstripped Cuthbert for the winning touchdown.

Cue wild celebrations and choruses of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

It was salt in the wounds of crestfallen home fans.

Best performance this season

They were the three moments which, after Wales' most impressive display of the season, meant the difference between success and failure.

Key moments which England's confident, winning side needed to stay on course for a second successive Grand Slam.

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Six Nations 2017: Re-live six of Wales' best tries against England

Cool heads in the heat of battle. The difference between winners and losers.

The target for Wales now will be channelling their improved form and disappointment of defeat into a match against a resurgent Scotland at Murrayfield on 25 February.

The passing of time will mean something to the Scots who have not beaten Wales since 2007.

Dejection in a bottle

For Wales and Howley and the ever-admirable Alun Wyn Jones, it's about recovering from the disappointment.

North is confident he will be fit to face the Scots as both teams will have had two weeks rest after Wales' six-day turnaround between the win over Italy and facing England.

"The quality is how you bounce back," said Howley.

"The changing room wasn't a very pleasant place to be, but you have to bottle that feeling as a player and as a coach and we'll try and learn from those last 10 minutes and it will be better up at Murrayfield."

As Howley said, it is in the final knockings - when legs are heavy and minds muddled with fatigue - that games are won and lost.

Wales, England and undoubtedly Scotland, certainly know that.

England 25-28 Wales on 26 September, 2015 was a match lost by the team that should have won.

Wales 16-21 England on 11 February, 2017 was a game won by the team that arguably should have lost.

It's the same thing really, apart from the colour of the shirts of the winning team and the set of supporters with that empty feeling.

That winning habit - makes all the difference

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