Six Nations: Wales remain winless after defeat to England, Ireland dispatch Italy

Tries by Anthony Watson, Kyle Sinckler and Ollie Lawrence have propelled England to a nervy 20-10 victory over Wales in a scruffy Six Nations encounter that showed how much both teams have to do to become competitive in the championship.

England started strongly with an Owen Farrell penalty and a well-crafted try for Watson, making his first start for two years, but Wales briefly led, after an intercept try by Louis Rees-Zammit at the start of the second half.

The hosts regained the lead, when Sinckler burrowed over and although they were on top for most of the second half, they made the game safe only 10 minutes from the end, with another well-crafted try finished off by Lawrence.

James Lowe on his way to the tryline for Ireland in their win over Italy.
James Lowe on his way to the tryline for Ireland in their win over Italy. Photo credit: Getty Images

England's second successive win, after the home victory over Italy, made it three defeats out of three for Wales, who rarely looked dangerous, completing a wretched week, when the fixture was in doubt, after the players threatened to strike in their row with the Welsh union.

The result means Wales remain winless under new Kiwi coach Warren Gatland, sitting at the bottom of the standings with no points halfway through the competition.

Gatland refuses to blame his team's chaotic week, as they again failed to turn sustained possession into scoring opportunities.

The team's preparation for the game was derailed by a potential players strike over their dispute with the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) that meant he had to cancel training sessions and delay naming his team.

They struggled to get a toehold in the match and although they were within five points late, they were always chasing the game.

"The week was challenging, but we're not making any excuses," Gatland said. "I think we can be critical of ourselves in terms of creating a lot of problems for ourselves by not being accurate in key moments.

"That's what test rugby is about - you're in that arm wrestle. We've spoken about being hard on ourselves.

"I was pleased with some improvements."

Earlier, wing Mack Hansen scored a brace of tries, as Ireland held off a spirited challenge from hosts Italy at Rome to claim a 34-20 bonus-point victory and stay on course for a Grand Slam.

Ireland, who top the Six Nations table with 15 points from three matches, looked as though they would run riot, after four tries in the first 35 minutes, with lock James Ryan, fullback Hugo Keenan and centre Bundee Aki the other scorers.

Italy took the game to their vaunted visitors and ran the ball from all positions, sometimes naively, as they scored tries through scrumhalf Stephen Varney and wing Pierre Bruno, but they could not convert when well placed in the second half.

Ireland led 24-17 at halftime, but the game tightened up after the break, with Italy flyhalf Paolo Garbisi superb in controlling the tempo for the home side, who continue to impress in defeat in this year's competition.