Five Nations

Six Nations Championship

Rampant England score eight tries in record rout of Wales

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 February, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 March, 2014, 7:16pm

England ripped up the record books to win their first match in eight outings and crush Wales 60-26 in a Five Nations Championship clash at Twickenham last night.

Wales had rocked England with two early tries before Clive Woodward's side hit back with an amazing 10-minute blitz before half-time when they ran in four tries to race into a 34-12 interval lead.

England scored eight tries in total and fly-half Paul Grayson kicked nine out of 10 efforts on goal as they registered an all-time high score in the Five Nations Championship.

David Rees (two), Neil Back, Kyran Bracken, Lawrence Dallaglio, Austin Healey, Will Greenwood and substitute Matt Dawson were England's try scorers while fly-half Grayson kicked two penalties and seven conversions.

In reply, Wales scored tries through centre Allan Bateman (two), winger Gareth Thomas and Scott Gibbs, while Neil Jenkins hit three conversions.

England drew first blood when Grayson slotted his first penalty after just three minutes, but they soon found themselves trailing after a blunder by young fullback Matt Perry.

With powerhouse centre Gibbs bearing down on him, Perry spilled a high ball from fly-half Arwel Thomas 20 yards from his own line, allowing Bateman to gather the loose ball and crash over.

Jenkins converted to make it 7-3, before Grayson reduced the deficit to just one point with another penalty.

But Wales stormed further in front. Thomas jinked past several England players down the left touch-line in his own half before the ball was moved right, through Gibbs, Bateman and Wayne Proctor.

A stunning move was rounded off with a simple pass inside to Bateman for the centre to score his second try. Jenkins failed with the conversion but Wales were 12-6 ahead after 23 minutes.

England, though, hit back in dramatic fashion, scoring four converted tries in the 10 minutes before half-time.

The first came from winger Rees, who wrong-footed the Welsh defence. Grayson converted to put England 13-12 in front.

England were now playing with a fury that left the Welsh back-pedalling in disarray and two minutes later they scored their second try when Back was driven over after Garath Archer won a line-out five yards out. The blitz continued when England took a quick tap from a penalty and Bracken took a looping pass from Grayson, dummied the Welsh defence and shot over near the posts.

But that was not the end of the try feast and as England recorded their fourth try, a pushover claimed by Lawrence Dallaglio. Grayson converted his sixth kick out of six.

Wales kept England out for the first 10 minutes of the second-half before Rees claimed his second try and England's 41 points was already a record against Wales, beating the 34 they scored in 1990 and 1997.

Jeremy Guscott, playing in his 50th game for England, set up a score by scything through the Welsh defence to give Rees an easy run to the line.

Wing Gareth Thomas swept over in the corner after the Welsh forwards had won five successive rucks, Jenkins converting from the touchline to reduce the margin to 41-19.

England surpassed the record 46 points they scored against Ireland last year when Healey surged down the left for England's sixth try, Grayson converting.

Centre Greenwood added to the demolition when he went over under the posts before scrum-half Dawson completed the rout.

At Murrayfield, Scotland slumped to a stunning 51-16 loss against the visiting French side, who have now won their opening two Five Nations matches.