England would have thought that their hopes of completing the Grand Slam in this year’s Six Nations tournament were at an all-time high, as the half-time whistle blew at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.
Having already beaten Ireland and France, they found themselves 10-3 up in Cardiff after a battling first-half display.
However, fast-forward 40 minutes and England found themselves on the wrong end of a 21-13 scoreline and their hopes of completing the Grand Slam had been extinguished.
The result left many scratching their heads as to where it went wrong for Eddie Jones’ side, but Sir Clive Woodward, in his column for the Daily Mail, has pinpointed a couple of key areas which led to England’s collapse.
“England didn’t really fire a shot and had little to offer in attack,” the World Cup-winning coach began. “I said before the game that Owen Farrell would be pivotal, and Wales stopped him.
“They shut him out firstly with an astonishingly low penalty count, conceding just three all match.
“If you don’t give a kicker like Farrell any shots at goal then one weapon is immediately taken away. He was taken out of the game completely by top-class coaching and players who thought correctly under pressure. They gave him nothing.”
Woodward also claimed that England “got carried away with how well their kicking game went against Ireland and France”, playing to the strengths of Wales who are particularly good in the air.
The 63-year-old noted that England also went away from the “Manu Tuilagi-Henry Slade combination”, which had worked well up to that point in the tournament, but returned back to the Farrell situation as the key aspect of the game.
“I would rest or bench Farrell for Italy now, as England need to learn to win without him, and let George Ford captain the team and start at fly-half.
“It would have been better to do that having beaten Wales, but now that they are not Grand Slamming, it is all about preparing for the World Cup.”
England will now welcome Italy to Twickenham on March 9 and will be hoping to get their tournament back on track while Wales travel to Scotland on the same day.