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Rugby: Wales shock England

February 03, 2008 10:21 IST

Wales shocked England 26-19 with a second-half revival to claim their first win in Twickenham for 20 years and Ireland ground out a 16-11 win over Italy on the opening day of the Six Nations Rugby tournament on Saturday.

Wales had trailed 16-6 at halftime and shortly after the interval went a further three points behind before an astonishing turnaround that saw them score 20 points in 12 minutes.

Man of the match James Hook started the revival with two penalties before fullback Lee Byrne and scrumhalf Mike Phillips scored tries two minutes apart to put Wales ahead with 10 minutes to go.

England suffered a string of injures, with Lewis Moody, David Strettle, Tom Rees and Mike Tindall all leaving the field early, and seemed enable to regain the control they had in the first half.

Flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson looked off the pace, though he kicked three penalties, a drop goal and converted Toby Flood's try for England's points.

Wales' only first-half scores had come from Hook's boot.

"The first half didn't really go our way. We came out in the second half and believed in ourselves .. it was a tremendous effort from the boys," Hook told BBC television.

STUTTERING START

Earlier in the day, Ireland got off to a stuttering start to their campaign, struggling to beat Italy after missing several golden try-scoring opportunities.

Their win was soured by news that centre Gordon D'Arcy would miss the rest of the campaign after breaking his arm in the first half.

A Girvan Dempsey try and a conversion and three penalties by flyhalf Ronan O'Gara were the only scores for Ireland despite some blistering runs from scrumhalf Eoin Reddan that could have easily led to tries.

Italy added to a David Bortolussi penalty with a try from new captain Sergio Parisse, whose bundled-over effort was given after a five-minute delay while the video replay was analysed.

A 70th-minute penalty by Bortolussi ensured an exciting finish to the match with just five points between the teams and a 77th minute penalty miss by O'Gara added to the tension.

Source:
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