Steve Borthwick and Warren Gatland react after England beat Wales in Six Nations

England went top of the Six Nations table with victory over Wales (Picture: Getty)

England head coach Steve Borthwick said he was immensely ‘proud’ of his players after they came through a ‘hard-fought’ Six Nations encounter with Wales to emerge 16-14 victors at Twickenham.

The hosts again had to overturn a half-time deficit, with Wales awarded a penalty try and Ioan Lloyd converting Alex Mann’s score to give the visitors a 14-5 lead after Ben Earl had crossed over.

Wales failed to register a point in the second half and lost Mason Grady to the sin bin. Meanwhile, England grew into the match as George Ford kicked two penalties either side of Fraser Dingwall’s 63rd-minute try.

England – who beat Italy in their previous outing – go to the top of the championship table with the result, though defending champions Ireland could leapfrog Borthwick’s men with victory over Italy on Sunday.

‘I think it was a hard-fought game. I’m proud of the players and really pleased for the players,’ Borthwick told ITV Sport shortly after the final whistle.

‘It’s a team that stays in the fight, it’s a team that finds a way. It’s a young side.

‘We know we’ve got lots to learn, we’re going to grow together, but ultimately it’s a team that stays in the fight and we’re very proud of that.’

England’s centre Fraser Dingwall (RR) celebrates after scoring the team’s second try with England’s centre Henry Slade during the Six Nations international rugby union match between England and Wales at Twickenham Stadium in south-west London, on February 10, 2024. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Fraser Dingwall scores for England against Wales

Dingwall crossed over for a crucial second-half try at Twickenham (Picture: Getty)

Borthwick said his players were able to remain ‘composed’ at the halfway stage despite being behind in the contest.

‘In so many ways, a lot of the stuff in the first half was pretty good,’ he added.

‘We had two players who left the field with sin bins and the penalty count at half-time was 6-0 to Wales. Putting up with all those things, the team have done pretty well.

Borthwick was ‘proud’ of his side’s resilience in the win (Picture: Getty)

‘At half-time we were very composed. The players were very clear in what needed to be done and there was a lot of belief that they would go and find a way.

‘We saw the depth of the squad in certain positions. Players came on and really added. Theo Dan came on and really added, Chandler [Cunningham-South] came on and really added, the same with Danny Care.

‘It’s great to have that level of depth.’

Wales’ mistakes were punished in the second half (Picture: Getty)

Warren Gatland praised Wales’ ‘character’ but felt there was plenty of room for improvement in their performance, with mistakes costing his young side in the second half.

‘In fairness to England, they went to a kicking game, a kicking strategy, in the second half and got some reward out of that,’ the Wales head coach said in his post-match interview.

‘We probably didn’t manage it as well as we could have. There were a couple of penalties that were pretty crucial against us.

‘But I’m proud of that performance. The players gave everything we asked for. We’re going to be a good team, it’s just going to take a little bit of time, so some players learning about game management and stuff and they learn it from those sorts of experiences.

‘We did some good things and things will hopefully tidy up as we go forward. Yeah, we’re disappointed but this is a young side that is going to continue to improve.’

The New Zealander added: ‘We scored a couple of tries and put them under some pressure which was positive.

‘But in the second half, giving away a soft penalty for being offside in front of the posts, and that’s probably the difference between the two teams. They’ve come here with a real kicking strategy and got some reward out of that.

‘I thought we showed some great character and there was a game there for us to win. I’m proud of the effort.’

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