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England impress with Wales victory

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Jack Clifford scored a stunning try and Joe Launchbury produced an all-action display as England thrilled the Twickenham crowd beating Wales 27-13.

Without Aviva Premiership Rugby finalists from Saracens and Exeter Chiefs, a youthful England team withstood an early Welsh barrage to record a morale-boosting win ahead of the summer tour to Australia.

They scored five tries in all, with Harlequins flanker Clifford’s effort early in the second half particularly eye-catching as he raced over from halfway.

Wales started strongly and showed their patience after working their way into the England 22. After a couple of charges it was loosehead prop Rob Evans who crashed over for his first international try. Dan Biggar converted to make it 7-0 after six minutes and he stretched that lead to ten just before the quarter-hour with a penalty.

George Ford could have cancelled that out but was off-target with his first penalty attempt of the afternoon after Wales had gone off their feet at the breakdown.

They were back in it soon after though, with Luther Burrell crashing over after a maul had been held five metres out, although Ford was unable to add the extras.

Biggar knocked over another penalty for Wales when Dylan Hartley was penalised at the breakdown but England soon had their second try.

Anthony Watson has been prolific since making the step up to Test level, and he notched up a 12th Test try with a stunning finish. Released by Bath Rugby teammate Jonathan Joseph down the left, he showed pace and then quick thinking to reach out and dot down. Ford missed his third kick of the afternoon with the conversion and England trailed 13-10 at the break.

Four minutes into the second half England took the lead for the first time, Ben Youngs slipping past Scott Baldwin before powering over for the home side’s third try. Ford missed the tricky conversion but England were 15-13 up.

And it got even better two minutes later when Clifford ran in a fourth. The Harlequins back rower pounced on a ball in midfield and then showed searing pace to sprint over from halfway. Ford finally hit the target to stretch the lead to 22-13.

It was turning into a great afternoon for England and on the hour they got try number five. Marland Yarde scored it, but it owed a lot to Courtney Lawes’ hand-off on Jamie Roberts before releasing the Harlequins winger to finish. Ford’s conversion bounced away off the post with England 27-13 up.

Forced to defend, England did a good job frustrating Wales and keeping them at bay on those occasions they did venture back into the 22.

Ollie Devoto was stopped just short of a debut try, while the likes of Teimana Harrison, Ellis Genge, Tommy Taylor also got their first caps.

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BATH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03:  Maro Itoje of  Saracens is tackled by Max Lahiff of Bath during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath Rugby and Saracens at the Recreation Ground on December 3, 2016 in Bath, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)