New Zealand head coach Ian Foster has agreed to a "big" cut in his salary during the coronavirus pandemic.

Foster confirmed he and his fellow coaches have already reached an agreement with New Zealand Rugby, while discussions with players are also at an advanced stage.

"Our coaching group has definitely taken a big cut," Foster said to Newstalk ZB.

"That's already been agreed to - with rugby when there's no games, there's no revenue, and that's a tough thing. There's been a lot of shaving of the programmes inside and what it's also come down to is cutting.

"It's a different sort of process for players but I know they're willing to go into that space too.

"Theirs is a more complex [situation] - but it's a given and they understand that. It's just a matter of working it through so all the different levels of players are dealt with fairly.

"I haven't heard one player yet who doesn't accept that it's going to happen. There's a real willingness of those involved in the game to get behind this and do whatever it takes to make sure [the game] survives."

Foster believes the three home Test matches scheduled for July, two against Wales and another against Scotland, are unlikely to go ahead.

He wants the All Blacks players to maintain a base level of fitness, though conceded a "short period" would still be needed after the lockdown to up their levels to full match readiness.

"If you look at the probability, there's a reasonably good chance that international travel and borders won't be down across the world at that point, so in that case the All Blacks won't be playing in July,” he added.

"[If we keep players at peak fitness] they'll just blow out mentally and get really frustrated with that because there’s so much uncertainty.

"We want the players to settle down then we'll start expecting fitness levels to be at a certain point that when the lockdown finishes and we do start to think about a starting point for rugby again."

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chairman Gareth Davies believes the right call was made after it was decided to postpone the Six Nations clash with Scotland.

With the British government opting not to ban large events, it seemed as though Wales' encounter with Scotland would go ahead as planned in Cardiff on Saturday.

However, the WRU confirmed on Friday, 24 hours prior to kick-off, that the match would not be played amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"It has been a tough week," said Davies in quotes reported by BBC Sport. "But we believe it was the proper and responsible thing to do."

"I don't think we could've dealt with it any better. We made a decision last night that this match would go ahead. In a very quickly moving world things had changed by late morning today.

"We initially followed the advice of government in terms of the scientific and medical evidence and that was the case up until [Thursday] night.

"We had an emergency board meeting to consider everything and we still thought, bearing in mind the advice we had, that keeping the game on was the way to go.

"Last night the Premier League were carrying on but by this morning that had changed and the EFL went on a similar course, as did the Celtic v Rangers game, in all being called off and other major global events were also being pulled.

"We spoke to the government this morning, who understood our position."

"For us to be the only sporting event to be on, we were mindful of the seriousness of the situation. We took into account supporters, players and staff and asked whether it was essential to subject to that risk."

Wales international James Davies will miss the rest of the season after Scarlets confirmed he is to undergo surgery on a hip injury.

The flanker has not played since he featured for his country in the bronze medal match at the Rugby World Cup in November.

It has now been confirmed Davies, who has not yet returned to full training, will require surgery to fix the ongoing issue.

Davies, who has made eight Test appearances for his country, will subsequently miss the rest of the 2019-20 campaign.

A Scarlets spokesperson said: "Unfortunately, James continues to struggle with a hip injury that has prevented his full return to training.

"A decision for surgical intervention to facilitate his recovery has been made. It is hoped that this will allow James to begin the 2020-21 season fit and healthy."

Amid the outbreak of coronavirus, the Pro14 season was suspended on Thursday until further notice.

The Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland has been postponed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Until the decision, Saturday's contest in Cardiff was the only match in round five of the tournament still scheduled to take place this weekend.

The Italy v England and France v Ireland clashes had previously been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an announcement on Friday from the Welsh Rugby Union confirmed their game would also not go ahead as planned.

"The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue," read their statement, which was published 24 hours before kick-off.

"Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

"The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

"Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option."

The WRU had earlier said the game was still on, but the landscape changed when a host of other high-profile sporting fixtures for this weekend and beyond were cancelled or postponed amid the spread of coronavirus.

Football has been called off in England, France, Italy and Spain, along with next week's fixtures in the Champions League and Europa League.

The Test series between Sri Lanka and England has been cancelled, while in golf The Players Championship was halted after one round and next month's Masters has been postponed.

The Welsh Rugby Union still intends to stage Saturday's Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland, despite coronavirus concerns.

The UK Government said on Thursday it was not yet necessary to postpone major sporting fixtures, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson declaring there was "no medical reason at the moment to ban such events".

Wales' home fixture at the Principality Stadium is the only remaining match on the weekend's Six Nations schedule, after COVID-19 issues led to the postponement of Italy versus England and France's clash with Ireland.

However, it appears there will be action in Cardiff, with supporters told there will be "enhanced facilities for hand washing and sanitisation" available.

"The Welsh Rugby Union [WRU] has confirmed tomorrow's Guinness Six Nations clash with Scotland at Principality Stadium will go ahead as planned," the WRU said on Friday.

"WRU representatives have been in dialogue with Welsh Assembly government minister for health and social services Vaughan Gething, who provided much needed clarity on the Cobra meeting held yesterday.

"Throughout the WRU board have followed the scientific advice of government, Public Health Wales and medical experts and determined that any game would be held or postponed based on that advice.

"Enhanced facilities for hand washing and sanitisation will be available at the stadium and there are measures in place to manage any issues with attendees on the day. In addition supporters are urged to follow the advice that is widely available on government websites in relation to the virus."

Wales and Scotland go head to head in the final round of the Six Nations on Saturday, and the Scots still have the slimmest chance of winning the title.

The tournament will not finish on schedule, with three matches yet to be rescheduled after being postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, so the wait goes on to learn who finishes as champions.

The Scots would be looking for whipping boys Italy to avoid defeat against both Ireland and England in two of those postponed matches, and for Ireland to do likewise against France, so their championship prospects appear merely mathematically possible.

Whether Scotland can beat Wales also remains to be seen, but Gregor Townsend's XV are the form side heading into the Principality Stadium clash, having won their last two matches while Wayne Pivac's side have lost three in a row.

With Opta data, we preview the weekend's lone Six Nations match:

Wales v Scotland

- Wales have won 14 of their last 16 Six Nations games against Scotland (L2), including their last eight in a row at the Principality Stadium, with Scotland’s only victory in Cardiff in the championship this century coming in 2002.

- Wales have lost their last three Six Nations games, their worst run in the championship since a five-game losing streak spanning the 2006 and 2007 editions.

- Scotland come into this match having won back-to-back games in the Six Nations, but they have not won three in a row in the Five Nations or Six Nations since 1996 when they beat Ireland, France and Wales in succession.

- Wales have scored four tries originating from inside their own half in this year’s Six Nations, the joint most of any side, with France having also scored four, while 50 per cent of Scotland’s tries (three of six) have come from that range, the highest ratio of any side.

- Scotland have won 7.8 turnovers per game on average in the tournament this year, more than any other side, while Wales have won the fewest (5.5). Scotland also boast the best tackle success rate this campaign (89 per cent) having missed a tournament-low 18 tackles per game.

- Wales have recorded the best goal-kicking success rate so far, with Leigh Halfpenny (100 per cent, 5/5) and Dan Biggar (94 per cent, 15/16) boasting the best individual rates of anyone to attempt more than one kick at goal.

- Stuart Hogg (Scotland) has gained the most metres of any player in the championship (305), averaging 76 metres per game. Another 76 metres in this match would see him become just the second player in Six Nations history to gain 3,000 metres, after Sergio Parisse (Parisse reached 3,088, Hogg is currently on 2,924).

- Hamish Watson (Scotland) has made 62 of 62 tackles in the championship, the second most of any player.

Joe Marler has been handed a 10-week suspension for grabbing Alun Wyn Jones' genitals during England's Six Nations win over Wales.

England were 33-30 winners at Twickenham on Saturday, but there were a number of flashpoints throughout the match, with the hosts reduced to 13 men by the final whistle after Ellis Genge went to the sin bin and Manu Tuilagi was sent off.

One incident missed by the officials concerned Jones and prop forward Marler, who appeared to grab at the Wales captain's crotch, though there was no action from the officials. 

After the incident was cited for further review, Marler appeared before an independent disciplinary committee in Dublin on Thursday and subsequently received a ban until June 8.

Marler, who did not accept that the incident warranted a red card, has the right to appeal the decision.

Meanwhile, Tuilagi also appeared before the disciplinary committee. The centre likewise did not accept his tackle on George North warranted a red card, but his appeal was rejected and he is suspended for four weeks.

Courtney Lawes was also cited following the match for a dangerous tackle on Jones.

However, the committee agreed that Lawes' tackle, while an act of foul play, was not worthy of a red card.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac hailed captain Alun Wyn Jones as the "ultimate professional" ahead of his record-equalling cap in this weekend's clash with Scotland.

Jones has been named in Wales' team for Saturday's Six Nations game in Cardiff, which is set to go ahead as planned despite the competition's other two matches being postponed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The 34-year-old will match New Zealand icon Richie McCaw's tally of 148 Tests when running out at the Principality Stadium, nine of those coming for the British and Irish Lions.

And Pivac has paid tribute to influential skipper Jones, who made his Wales debut against Argentina almost 14 years ago.

"You just need to speak to anybody he plays against and they'll tell you what it's like to play against him," Pivac said at a news conference on Thursday.

"They hold him in high regard. I've seen first-hand what Alun Wyn does, not only on the field but in terms of training and our environment, in terms of his leadership off the field. 

"What he does is just huge. At training, the whistle blows and we'll shift from one drill to another and he's up and sprinting, the first guy there every single time.

"Then you see in a game, when he gets up off the ground, he's gone. He's the ultimate professional. 

"Every country will have someone who they will say is the ultimate professional, and in Wales, he is that guy.

"Equalling the record will be a proud moment for him and, all being well, he'll break that record and that will be an even prouder moment."

Jones will be joined in the second row by Cory Hill for Wales' concluding Six Nations fixture, as Pivac makes four changes from the 33-30 defeat to England last weekend.

Uncapped Sale Sharks prop WillGriff John and fellow front-rower Wyn Jones are also included, while scrum-half Rhys Webb will make his first Wales start since November 2017.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has made three changes to his starting XV.

Stuart McInally and Magnus Bradbury have been brought into the side following last week's 28-17 win over France, while Sam Skinner will make his first start of the campaign.

"Wales are the Six Nations champions and came very close to making a World Cup final," Townsend told reporters.

"Are we underdogs? I would have thought so. We're ranked below them in the world rankings and have not won there for a long time.

"The players want to carry on the good work we've been doing and also go to a place where they have never won before and play our best game of the season."

 

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Nick Tompkins, Hadleigh Parkes, Liam Williams, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, WillGriff John, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi.

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Rhys Carre, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, Taulupe Faletau, Gareth Davies, Jarrod Evans, Johnny McNicholl.

Scotland: Stuart Hogg (captain), Sean Maitland, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn, Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, Stuart McInally, Zander Fagerson; Sam Skinner, Grant Gilchrist; Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, Willem Nel, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Duncan Weir, Kyle Steyn.

The coronavirus continues to have a huge impact on the sporting calendar. 

Further measures to prevent the spread of the virus were taken on Tuesday, affecting a plethora of sports and leagues.

More events were subject to postponements, while games taking place in empty arenas will become a regular sight in the coming weeks.

Here we look at the sporting decisions announced as the world attempts to tackle the outbreak.

 

In France, Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 games will be played behind closed doors until April 15. France's minister for sport Roxana Maracineanu had on Monday said games could be played with a limit of 1,000 fans, but the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) confirmed on Tuesday that no fans will be permitted. Earlier, Maracineanu called for fans to show "responsibility" and avoid "any damaging impact on public order" when Paris Saint-Germain play Borussia Dortmund behind closed doors in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The friendly between Germany and Italy, set to take place on March 31 in Nuremberg, will now be played behind closed doors, the German Football Association (DFB) confirmed. Additionally, there will be no fans at the Bundesliga game between Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin on March 14.

Also in Germany, the rearranged Bundesliga match between rivals Borussia Monchengladbach and Cologne, which was originally cancelled due to Storm Ciara, will now be played behind closed doors on Wednesday.

Gladbach CEO Stephan Schippers expressed his concern at a news conference, saying: "From a commercial perspective, you can't plan for something like this. 

"We will lose €2million per game. We have insurance against games that are called off, but not if they are played behind closed doors. That will hurt all clubs, including Borussia, financially.

"Fans have the right to be reimbursed. The settlement process will be discussed, but for now we need to see if more games will also follow. In that sense, we will find the right solution."

All sporting activity in Italy is suspended until April 3 by the country's Olympic Committee. In a statement, the committee conceded it does not have jurisdiction over international competitions. Following that, it was confirmed the Champions League clash between Barcelona and Napoli at Camp Nou on March 18 will go ahead behind closed doors. The Italian club insisted reports claiming they wanted the match to be postponed were "fake news".

The PGA of America and PGA Tour have rejected suggestions the US PGA Championship, which is to be held from May 14-17 at TPC Harding Park, could be moved from San Francisco after this week's tennis tournaments in Indian Wells were cancelled. 

"They [PGA of America officials] are fully planning on proceeding with the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said. "There is no plan at this point in time for the PGA Championship to be held here. It's going to be held at TPC Harding Park."

However, the MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas, which was scheduled for April 3-5 in Austin, is postponed and will instead take place in November.

In the first indication that coronavirus could impact the NCAA men's basketball tournament, also known as March Madness, in the United States, the Ivy League announced its postseason tournament is cancelled. Yale have been declared Ivy League champions and will represent it in March Madness.

Wales will follow the advice of Italian authorities on whether Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey will be allowed to leave the country to take part in their home matches with Austria and USA later this month, amid the lockdown on travel in Italy.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport released a statement insisting there was "no rationale" to postponing sporting events at this stage in the United Kingdom. Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney said the message sporting authorities had received from the government was "let's not panic".

Matches in Poland's top flight, the Ekstraklasa, will be played without supporters until further notice. The Europa League final is scheduled to be played in Gdansk on May 27.

Ticket sales for Northern Ireland's away Euro 2020 play-off match against Bosnia-Herzegovina on March 26 have been suspended amid fears over the outbreak.

The Euro 2020 play-off match between the Republic of Ireland and Slovakia in Bratislava on March 26 will be played with no fans present on the instruction of the Slovakian government, with all supporters who bought tickets to be refunded.

The owner of Greek side Olympiacos and Championship club Nottingham Forest, Evangelos Marinakis, has confirmed he has contracted COVID-19. He wrote on Instagram: "The virus has 'visited' me and I felt obliged to let the public know. I feel good as I take all the necessary measures and I discipline to the doctors' instructions."

The coronavirus continues to have a huge impact on the sporting calendar. 

Further measures to prevent the spread of the virus were taken on Tuesday, affecting a plethora of sports and leagues.

More events were subject to postponements, while games taking place in empty arenas will become a regular sight in the coming weeks.

Here we look at the sporting decisions announced as the world attempts to tackle the outbreak.

 

In Germany, the rearranged Bundesliga match between rivals Borussia Monchengladbach and Cologne, which was originally cancelled due to Storm Ciara, will now be played behind closed doors on Wednesday.

All sporting activity in Italy is suspended until April 3 by the country's Olympic Committee, in a decision pending government ratification made on Monday. In a statement, the committee conceded it does not have jurisdiction over international competitions. Following that, it was confirmed the Champions League clash between Barcelona and Napoli on March 18 will go ahead behind closed doors. The Italian club insisted reports claiming they wanted the match to be postponed were "fake news".

Wales will follow the advice of Italian authorities on whether Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey will be allowed to leave the country to take part in their home matches with Austria and the United States later this month, amid the lockdown on travel in Italy.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport released a statement insisting there was "no rationale" to postponing sporting events at this stage in the United Kingdom. Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney said the message sporting authorities had received from the government was "let's not panic".

Former Manchester United captain, Salford City co-owner and influential pundit Gary Neville has declared he is not in support of matches behind closed doors. "If it's necessary to shut down stadiums the associations must find a way of delaying the season and playing the games when it is safe to do so to protect the revenues for clubs that require this income to survive," he tweeted.

Matches in Poland's top flight, the Ekstraklasa, will be played without supporters until further notice. The Europa League final is scheduled to be played in Gdansk on May 27.

Ticket sales for Northern Ireland's away Euro 2020 play-off match against Bosnia-Herzegovina on March 26 have been suspended amid fears over the outbreak.

The owner of Championship club Nottingham Forest, Evangelos Marinakis, has confirmed he has contracted COVID-19. He wrote on Instagram: "The virus has 'visited' me and I felt obliged to let the public know. I feel good as I take all the necessary measures and I discipline to the doctors' instructions."

England pair Joe Marler and Courtney Lawes have been cited for incidents in England's 33-30 Six Nations win over Wales.

Prop Marler appeared to grasp the genitals of Alun Wyn Jones in the first half at Twickenham, leading the Wales captain to call on World Rugby to examine the footage.

The 29-year-old has been accused of an alleged infringement of law 9.27, which states that "a player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship – hair pulling or grabbing; Spitting at anyone; Grabbing, twisting or squeezing the genitals (and/or breasts in the case of female players)".

Lawes is also facing possible sanctions for a high tackle, also on Jones, in the second half.

The players face a disciplinary hearing on Thursday along with Manu Tuilagi, who was given a red card for a challenge on George North.

England's victory, coupled with France's defeat to Scotland, leaves Eddie Jones' side top of the standings with one match to play.

That game against Italy, scheduled for March 14 in Rome, has been postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Michael O'Neill said it was "devastating" to hear that Stoke City midfielder Joe Allen will miss Wales' Euro 2020 campaign due to injury.

Allen ruptured an Achilles tendon during the first half of Saturday's 5-1 Championship thrashing of Hull City at the bet365 Stadium.

The 29-year-old will sit out the rest of the domestic season and will be unavailable to Ryan Giggs as Wales attempt to emulate their achievements of four years ago, when they reached the semi-finals in France.

"It's devastating for us and devastating for the boy. Not only will he miss the rest of the season but obviously miss Euro 2020 as well," O'Neill said via Stoke's website.

"He's a great lad and when you're a coach and a manager you want the good lads to get the rewards and do well in the game. Joe's a low-maintenance player but a high-output player.

"I know what it means for him to play for Wales and obviously we [Northern Ireland] played them in 2016 as well and he had a fantastic tournament then. I'm sure he would have been looking forward to the finals and a chance for him to show again that he's a top, top international player, which he's proven to be in the past. It's taken a bit of the shine away for me.

"I kind of feel like I did when Chris Brunt got injured before Euro 2016 and missed it. These things don't come around often in players' careers so when it's taken away from them cruelly with injury it's not very nice."

Alun Wyn Jones is hopeful World Rugby will investigate an incident in which England's Joe Marler appeared to grab the Wales captain's genitals during Saturday's Six Nations match.

England were 33-30 winners at Twickenham, but there were a number of flashpoints in a clash that ended with the hosts down to 13 men after Ellis Genge went to the sin bin and Manu Tuilagi was sent off.

One incident missed by the officials concerned Jones and Marler.

Television pictures caught Marler apparently grabbing Jones' crotch, prompting a bemused expression from the Wales veteran but no action.

"I've got 138 Tests for my country," Jones told a post-match news conference. "If I react, I get a red card. It's tough, isn't it?

"Hopefully World Rugby have a look at it. Joe's a good bloke, lots of things happen on a rugby field.

"It's difficult as a captain these days because you can't speak to a ref about anything, it feels. I look at the touch judge. Obviously he didn't see what happened, and that's fine.

"There's a lot of footage that has been shown. It seems like a lot of supporters saw what happened.

"It's very frustrating that we talk a lot about TMOs and footage reviews, yet there doesn't seem to be a lot of it happening."

World Rugby's laws state the punishment for "grabbing, twisting or squeezing the genitals" starts at 12 weeks.

Manu Tuilagi's late red card to leave England's 33-30 Six Nations win over Wales briefly in the balance was not deserved, according to head coach Eddie Jones.

The World Cup finalists played some blistering rugby, with tries from the returning Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly and Tuilagi their reward.

However, frequent moments of indiscipline from the hosts helped to keep Wales in a captivating Twickenham contest and late scores from Justin Tipuric and Dan Biggar came after Ellis Genge was sin-binned and Tuilagi saw red.

The centre's dismissal came after he struck George North's head with his shoulder – a failure to wrap his arms on the winger sealing his fate after a TMO review.

"We were expecting a tough test right to the end and we got it, but when you get 13 against 16, it's pretty hard," Jones said, as quoted by BBC Sport, after his team's Triple Crown-sealing victory.

"We've moved on as a team. You look at the Six Nations, we had a slow start, because as I've explained, I didn't prepare the team very well, and since then we've been very good.

"We played well in Scotland in poor conditions, brilliantly in the first 40 minutes against Ireland and then a tough display against a good Welsh team."

Nevertheless, amid this satisfaction, Jones was unable to let his gripes with referee Ben O'Keeffe lie.

"We trained on Wednesday ... the whole session was 13 v 16, so we had some practice - we thought it might happen," he said.

"Is that a red card all the time? Well, it's not. It's not refereed like that, but it was today. We've got to take that on board, but how else do you stop the player?"

Frustration was not solely the preserve of the England camp, with Wales boss Wayne Pivac accusing his team of being complicit in their own downfall.

"It was a game that we're disappointed not to come out on top in," he told ITV after a third defeat from four in the tournament for the reigning champions.

"We gave England a good start, we played a bit too much rugby and they were good enough to capitalise on our mistakes. After half-time, we started the way we wanted to, but we let England back in again.

"We're our own worst enemies at the minute. We're working hard behind the scenes to get it right over the 80 minutes, and I think we're heading in the right direction. We're contributing to the result in terms of too many errors. Next week is a massive opportunity to go out and try to rectify that.

"There are times you can see what we're trying to do. In the second half, there were some good attacking raids with multiple phases when we put England under pressure. If we can do that for longer periods in games, and get our game management a little bit better, we'll be in a pretty good space."

Following pre-match consternation over the fitness of Wales fly-half Dan Biggar – head coach Wayne Pivac and assistant Sam Warburton having offered mixed messages with regards to his knee complaint – Tom Curry and Manu Tuilagi decided to seek their own diagnosis.

Biggar gathered Ben Youngs' teasing kick in the second minute, only to see a white-clad freight train hurtling towards him.

Curry, as was generally the case on a full-throated late afternoon in London, got there first, splattering Wales' number 10, with Tuilagi alongside to provided added, if largely unnecessary, muscle.

England's expert meshing of brains and brawn set them apart in the opening exchanges – Maro Itoje striding imperiously through the midfield before soaring to collect the subsequent line-out. Wales were drawn in, Curry did not miss a beat with the reverse pass and the returning Anthony Watson darted over for the first try.

There were plenty more instances where this undulating 33-30 win for Eddie Jones' men looked exactly as you might expect – one side tweaking and seeking to progress again having fallen agonisingly short of their World Cup goal, with their visitors in the early and often fumbling throes of transition.

Particularly in their defensive set-piece work, Pivac's men appeared a team breaking in uncomfortably new shoes; the glorious dances of a dozen years under Warren Gatland already feeling consigned to a fading era.

Wales' chances invariably came when an England team in a rush trod on their own jet heels.

This was never more evident than in the back-to-back passages of play that saw a swaggering 20-6 lead collapse to 20-16 either side of half-time.

Despite the clock having already ticked past 40, England sought to fizz the ball through hands on halfway where Tuilagi erred and Itoje was pinged for a high tackle on Biggar. Equilibrium long restored from that early pasting, he bisected the posts.

Then, 27 seconds and a lackadaisical restart later, Twickenham was aghast as Justin Tipuric gleefully scampered over.

Now was the time for Wales to open up some old wounds. England led 10-3 at half-time in this fixture a year ago, before unravelling and losing 21-13 in a fug of antagonised indiscipline.

If captain Owen Farrell intended to help his men turn over a new leaf, scrapping with George North and putting in a high tackle on Josh Navidi for Leigh Halfpenny to slot a pair of first-half penalties did not exactly amount to leading by example.

But from the tee, Farrell was typically unerring with six from six, and his combination with George Ford for Elliot Daly's 32nd-minute score meant Joe Marler's peculiar method of introducing himself to Alun Wyn Jones was arguably not England's most notable ball-in-hand moment of the match.

Those flashes of finely grooved, frictionless quality are the preserve of teams perfectly in sync with their wider strategies. Pivac's Wales cannot expect to be at that stage of realisation, although their unflinching spirit until the last bodes well for the journey ahead.

Tuilagi went over for another glorious try after more brilliant work from Youngs and Ford, although the bulldozing centre underlined England's remaining appetite for self-destruction with a late red card tackle on North. Biggar and Tipuric's late tries consequently came against 13-man opposition, given Ellis Genge was already ensconced in the sin bin.

Triple Crown secured, Eddie Jones' England don't look likely to stop playing on the edge any time soon, where the falls can be needlessly damaging but the views are often indisputably spectacular.

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