The returning Anthony Watson set England on their way to a 33-30 win at home to Wales that keeps their Six Nations title challenge on track.

With Grand Slam contenders France not in action against Scotland until Sunday, Eddie Jones' England piled on the pressure with a hard-fought triumph at Twickenham.

The hosts were boosted by the inclusion of wing Watson in the XV for the first time in the tournament, and he got the first of three England tries.

Elliot Daly crossed later in the first half and, after Justin Tipuric raced through for Wales at the start of the second period, Manu Tuilagi secured a third win in four matches for England before being sent off with five minutes remaining. Dan Biggar and Tipuric grabbed consolation tries for Wales in the closing moments, earning them a losing bonus point.

It took Watson less than four minutes to make his mark, dancing through a pair of tackles after a smart move from a lineout on the right to score the opening points.

An eventful start continued as Jonny May departed with a head injury before a scuffle broke out in front of the England try line, prompting a penalty against Owen Farrell that Leigh Halfpenny dispatched over the posts.

Farrell and Halfpenny traded further successful trips to the kicking tee as the match settled slightly, but a spell of England pressure resulted in their second try after 32 minutes as the hosts worked the ball from right to left and Daly steamed up the outside to lunge over.

Another Farrell penalty stretched England's lead again, only for some sloppy play to allow Biggar to boot a response heading into half-time.

And Wales came out for the restart with renewed vigour, scoring inside 30 seconds through a stunning counter that sent Tipuric clear under the posts.

But England continued to forge opportunities for their kickers, with Farrell adding three more points before George Ford assumed the responsibilities - his captain struggling with a dead leg - and followed suit.

Successive scores seemed to dampen Wales' spirits, and a patient England move made space for Tuilagi to walk in on the left.

A slew of late penalties against England resulted in a yellow card for Ellis Genge, and Tuilagi departed for a shoulder charge to George North's head.

That allowed first Biggar and then Tipuric to score against 13 scrambling white shirts, but the late tries proved only enough to rescue the bonus point.


Watson wastes little time

England had been shorn of their star wing since the Rugby World Cup final, and Watson made sure to quickly show Jones just what he had been missing. His 18th international try combined skill, speed and strength in impressive fashion from the first notable attack of the match.

Captain Farrell unflappable

This was a niggly game, best evidenced by the clash Farrell became involved in early on, but England made the most of each Welsh foul. Farrell's kicking from various ranges was typically clinical, taking the match away from Wales each time they threatened a recovery.

What's next?

England must wait to learn when they might fulfil their final fixture against Italy, who have seen consecutive matches postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Wales complete their disappointing campaign at home to Scotland next Saturday.

Fit-again England duo Mark Wilson and Anthony Watson will make their first appearance of the Six Nations against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.

Wilson replaces the injured Sam Underhill at openside flanker after recovering from a knee problem.

Watson is back on the wing at the expense of Bath team-mate Jonathan Joseph following a spell on the sidelines with a calf injury.

They are the only changes to the XV that started a 24-12 victory over Ireland last time out, as the Rugby World Cup runners-up eye a victory over the defending champions to put the pressure on leaders France.

Eddie Jones named his team on Thursday as the RFU waited to discover whether the final-round match against Italy in Rome on March 14 will be postponed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Jones said: "We've had a really good two week preparation – a fallow week in Oxford where we had good training days last Thursday and Friday and three good training days this week culminating in a very good session Wednesday.

"Wales are a very tough, well-coached side and they've been building on their attack since Wayne Pivac has taken over.

"It's always a tough game against Wales and we know they will bring that toughness to all the contest areas. We're looking forward to playing at home again and getting back out in front of our fantastic fans."

 

England: Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell, Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes, Mark Wilson, Tom Curry.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Joe Launchbury, Charlie Ewels, Ben Earl, Willi Heinz, Henry Slade.

England are likely to welcome back Manu Tuilagi for the crunch Six Nations clash with Ireland next week, but Anthony Watson remains out of action.

Centre Tuilagi remained with the England squad after suffering a groin injury in the opening defeat in France, although he did not feature as the Rugby World Cup finalists bounced back against Scotland.

The Leicester Tigers star should be able to feature at Twickenham a week on Sunday, though, head coach Eddie Jones revealed.

England face Ireland, who have won two matches from two so far - beating defending Grand Slam champions Wales last week - to join France at the top of the Six Nations table.

Alongside Tuilagi, England could be boosted by a return for Henry Slade, the 26-year-old having been out with an ankle injury since December.

"Manu is looking very good," Jones told Sky Sports News. "Very promising. He should be in full training by the start of next week.

"Henry Slade ran today and we've yet to get a medical report. It's definitely promising but too early to say whether he will be alright for Ireland or not."

However, Watson - another man, like Slade, yet to feature in the campaign - is still struggling with a calf injury picked up on the eve of the competition.

"Anthony Watson is still a couple of weeks away," Jones said.

Joe Launchbury and Mako Vunipola have been named in a 25-man England squad ahead of Saturday's Calcutta Cup showdown with Scotland. 

The duo could return from injury, having been sidelined for the chastening loss to France in England's Six Nations opener.

Eddie Jones, who will name his 23-man matchday selection on Thursday, has cut Charlie Ewels and will be without injured duo Manu Tuilagi (groin) and Anthony Watson (calf).

Lock Launchbury is on the mend following a knee problem, while Vunipola missed the clash in Paris after suffering an issue with his eye.

Bath second row Ewels was substituted in the second half against France, when England were 24-0 down. They went on to claim a losing bonus point in a 24-17 defeat.

England squad

Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Mako Vunipola 

Backs: Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Owen Farrell, George Ford, George Furbank, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Ollie Thorley, Ben Youngs

England wing Anthony Watson will not be fit to return for this week's Six Nations meeting with Scotland, forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has revealed.

Watson was missing with a calf injury as the Rugby World Cup runners-up made a dismal start to the campaign in France last week.

England were beaten 24-17 in Paris, failing to score a single point in the first half of a Five or Six Nations fixture for the first time since 1988.

Bath star Watson was expected to return for the key Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield on Saturday, but Proudfoot has revealed this will not be the case.

"Anthony felt it [his calf] again yesterday and we won’t consider him for Scotland," Proudfoot said on Wednesday.

The news represents another big blow for Eddie Jones' side, who will also be without Manu Tuilagi against Scotland.

Tuilagi limped off against France due to a groin strain, with the home game against Ireland on February 23 targeted for his return.

Ruaridh McConnochie and Willi Heinz have been handed England debuts, while Alun Wyn Jones will become Wales' most capped player in the Rugby World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham on Sunday.

Versatile Bath back McConnochie has played only season as a professional in the 15-a-side format but will start on the right wing against the Grand Slam-winners a year after ending his sevens career.

Heinz is to make his Test bow at the age of 32 and the New Zealand-born scrum-half has also been named as a vice-captain alongside Sam Underhill, with George Ford skippering the side.

Anthony Watson gets the nod on the left wing for what will be his first Test appearance since March 2018 after recovering from a serious Achilles injury.

Jack Singleton, Lewis Ludlam and Joe Marchant are set to make their debuts off the bench for Eddie Jones' men.

Wales skipper Jones will make a record 135th Test appearance and a 126th for his country in an experienced team.

Fly-half Gareth Anscombe again partners Gareth Davies, with Dan Biggar having to settle for a place on the bench.

 

England team: Elliot Daly, Ruaridh McConnochie, Henry Slade, Piers Francis, Anthony Watson, George Ford (captain), Willi Heinz; Ellis Genge, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Charlie Ewels, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Jack Singleton, Joe Marler, Harry Williams, George Kruis, Lewis Ludlam, Ben Youngs, Joe Marchant, Joe Cokanasiga.

 

Wales team: Liam Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Davies; Nicky Smith, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (captain) Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Aaron Shingler, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Owen Watkin.

Uncapped centre Joe Marchant has been included in a 38-man England squad for a 12-day training camp, but Danny Cipriani will not be involved in Treviso.

The Harlequins player flew out for warm-weather on Monday with the rest of the group for training two months before the Rugby World Cup starts in Japan.

It will be Marchant's first experience with the senior squad, while full-back Ruaridh McConnochie is another uncapped player to be selected by Eddie Jones.

Sam Underhill and Anthony Watson will be on the trip after spending last week undergoing strength and conditioning, having been sidelined by long-term injuries.

Joe Marler is also included after reversing his decision to retire from international rugby, however Gloucester fly-half Cipriani has failed to make the cut.

England head coach Jones said: "Treviso is a hard yards camp with conditions similar to Tokyo. Team training will be about being adaptable and off the field enjoying each other's company."

He added: "Selection is absolutely challenging, we have left some good players doing work at their clubs and they must be ready if called up."

England training squad:

Forwards: Dan Cole, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Brad Shields, Kyle Sinckler, Jack Singleton, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams, Mark Wilson.

Backs: Mike Brown, Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Piers Francis, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph, Joe Marchant, Jonny May, Ruaridh McConnochie, Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Ben Spencer, Ben Te’o, Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.

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