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England keeps title hopes alive

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

LONDON - England have clinched the Triple Crown and kept their Six Nations title hopes alive with a 29-18 win over champions Wales at Twickenham.

On a sunny dry day, ideal for running rugby, England saw scrum-half Danny Care and centre Luther Burrell score tries in a match where fly-half Owen Farrell kicked 19 points.

All of Wales' points came courtesy of six penalties from full-back Leigh Halfpenny as England deservedly gained revenge for a record 30-3 defeat by the Welsh in Cardiff last year that cost them a Grand Slam.

This defeat, though, ends Wales's hopes of an historic third successive Six Nations title.

This was a first win against Wales for England coach Stuart Lancaster and it was a timely one too, with this match the last between the old rivals at Twickenham before they meet at the London ground in the pool stages of the 2015 World Cup.

Victory left England, who finish the Championship away to bottom of the table Italy on Saturday, level on three wins from four games with both Ireland and France, who next face one another in Paris.

A narrow French win over the Irish, who have a huge points difference advantage, coupled with an England win in Rome could see Lancaster's men take the title.

But this result meant Wales, whose starring line-up included 12 of the British and Irish Lions their coach Warren Gatland guided to a series win in Australia last year, no longer had any chance of claiming an unprecedented third successive outright Six Nations title following their defeat by Ireland earlier in the tournament.

"I'm really proud," Lancaster said on Sunday.

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