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6N: England edges Wales 21-16 in Cardiff
CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — England remained unbeaten by downing Wales 21-16 in Cardiff on Saturday, and for the second Six Nations match in a row its replacements produced another crucial late converted try.
Elliot Daly crossed in the left corner with four minutes to go and Owen Farrell converted from the touchline to overcome a 16-14 deficit and force Wales to score a converted try to win.
But the Welsh, who have prided themselves on their fitness in the Warren Gatland era, had nothing left to offer and likely saw their title hopes snuffed out by England for a third straight year.
England march on, having extended its national record winning streak to 16 with Italy next at home in two weeks.
The reserves had a big hand in lifting England over France last week, and they pulled it off again in a gripping match. Ironically, England slowly grew into ascendancy after captain Dylan Hartley was yanked off in the 47th minute.
Even so, Wales had a chance to finish off England after Leigh Halfpenny's third penalty put them up 16-11 with a quarter to go.
In front of the Wales tryline, flyhalf Dan Biggar intercepted England scrumhalf Ben Youngs to save a certain try, and forced a lineout outside of the England 22. But the Welsh throw-in was crooked, then tighthead prop Samson Lee conceded a scrum penalty. England countered, Lee gave away another penalty for a high tackle, and Farrell's third penalty kick cut the gap to two.
Wales was crumbling and England confidence was thickening.
Ben Te'o, who scored the match-winning try against France, was held out on the left, then fellow replacement back Jonny May on the right. Wales midfielder Jonathan Davies cleared from his in-goal, but not out. The kick went straight to Farrell, who sent Daly galloping around Alex Cuthbert and into the left corner.
England started the match with its most inexperienced loose trio in the Six Nations. Maro Itoje, Jack Clifford and Nathan Hughes shared just 20 caps compared to their opposites' 130. But while they were shaded for much of the match, lock Joe Launchbury made up for it with a brilliant effort. He carried the ball 18 times, made 15 tackles, and caught four throw-ins.
He helped England notch the first try before the first quarter was over. England went through the phases before Daly launched fullback Mike Brown into space. Brown was dropped near the tryline but from the ruck, Youngs dived over.
Farrell couldn't convert, and Halfpenny's second penalty left Wales two points behind.
Wales scrumhalf Rhys Webb tried to do a Youngs after an Alun Wyn Jones charge but he failed. Still, Wales got a penalty but opted for a scrum, in which it conceded a penalty when Rob Evans collapsed against England tighthead Dan Cole.
Webb was only just starting with his box of tricks.
Just before the interval, from a scrum in England's half, Webb burst into midfield, Scott Williams cut inside on a dummy run that the English fell for, and Liam Williams came off his left wing to take Webb's pass and scoot through a huge gap to angle to the posts. Halfpenny converted and Wales led 13-8.
Halftime stalled their momentum, and England came back, again.
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