Opinion: England and Wales showdown - the ultimate Twickenham fizzer

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The biggest rugby disappointment of last weekend was not the sparse crowd in Brisbane for the Global Tens.

It was not even the fact that Eddie Jones did not bite on the TMO controversy, a call which, to be fair, went England's way.

No, the biggest disappointment was the quality of the much-hyped England-Wales clash at Twickers.

Expectations were sky-high after round one of the Six Nations, when England dispatched Italy without getting out of second gear and Wales gave a technical and tactical masterclass to shut out a resurgent Scotland.

Pundits felt it was an early Six Nations decider, but that will now surely be the March 17 England versus Ireland match-up.

No clear-headed rugby person would have predicted a brilliant, frothy, free-flowing affair.

It was England-Wales, after all. But one might have wished for some crisp passing in both backlines, some intent to stretch the defences on the outside and not just break them up the middle.

Dewy-eyed old-timers might have loved it, the 12-6 scoreline, the tension, the bruising defence, the drama of two tries that might have been for Wales, Mike Brown's penetration from the back for the home side.

But instead, the try scoring was done within 25 minutes, both to England wing Jonny May, whose hitherto career high point was a solo try against the 2012 All Blacks.

Wales tactically kicked like drunken sailors, while the compelling 10-12 English five-eighths duo of George Ford and Owen Farrell were their polar opposites.

The latter set up May for his first try with a long grubber.

The second half yielded just one penalty goal, to New Zealand-born Gareth Anscombe, a man who should be wearing the jersey of the Blues of Auckland rather than the Blues of Cardiff.

He should, in fact, be wearing the Red Dragons' No 10 jersey and kicking their goals from the get-go, and he was Wales' best back on an afternoon when fluency was just a seven-letter word.

There were moments of drama, such as the incorrect TMO decision made by Kiwi Glenn Newman, when Anscombe scored but was not credited. But there were precious few moments of real skill and ambition, of tactical acumen or accurate execution. In short, it turned into the proverbial arm-wrestle.

One would have expected more from Jones and the No 2-ranked side in the world and Warren Gatland and the No 5-ranked side in the world.

Then again, Gatland has often flattered to deceive at the top level with Wales. His record against Southern Hemisphere sides is appalling, but this was a prime opportunity for his team to build on the high notes of the hiding of Scotland.

As it happens, Wales could have won were it not the Anscombe non-try and if Scott Williams had dived a fraction of a second later in the tackle of the unlikely Sam Underhill.

So many ifs.

One would have expected more from Jones and the No 2-ranked side in the world and Warren Gatland and the No 5-ranked side in the world.

On the evidence of last weekend, Steve Hansen's charges would have put 25 on either team.

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