Wales 16 England 21

Stuart Lancaster will have been delighted by the spirit and resilience demonstrated by his England heroes on Friday night, as the Six Nations got off to a rip-roaring start in the Millennium Stadium. They battled through against intimidating opponents in the Cardiff cauldron and came through with flying colours, despite a terrible start that saw them trail by ten points in as many minutes. He may have feared the worst at that stage, as his newly assembled team looked ragged and disjointed, failing to find a foothold in the match.

Yet, the 'newbies' did him proud and brought his side through to a morale-boosting victory at the end.

An early penalty for Wales was not what the doctor ordered, after England had lost so many first-choice players to injury in the run up to the much-anticipated curtain raiser, but it allowed Leigh Halfpenny to warm up the local's voices as he fired them three points ahead. Worse was to come for the visitors, when Taulupe Faletau took matters into his own hands at a retreating scrum, to cleverly play in Rhys Webb for the opening try.

England shook their heads and roused to add their own contribution to the entertainment, as a misplaced pass found its way to full-back Mike Brown. Sensing little other option, his neat grubber kick was accurately collected by Anthony Watson, to give him his first try for his country in the corner.

George Ford was unable to convert from a tight angle, but his side were at least back in the contest.

The advantage stayed at five points for the Welsh, as Halfpenny and Ford effectively cancelled each other's successful penalties out, as half-time approached. England were hoping to get into the break without further damage and freshen themselves up for what they hoped would be a second-half fight back, but they were undone again when Dan Biggar was found in the 'pocket' and slotted the drop-goal over from long range.

Half-time duly arrived seconds later, with England seemingly staring down the barrel and already eight points adrift, perhaps secretly fearing another bashing, two years on from their 30-3 beating at the same venue.

The crowd sensed that the first score after the interval could be crucial and it was England who got it, after firstly battering the Welsh defence.

Jonathan Joseph slipped through a couple of weak tackles out wide, to skirt over the line for his first try for England, with Ford's successful conversion making a real game of it at 16-15 to the home side.

Ford missed a penalty to sneak the lead for the English, but the tide looked to have turned his country's way by now, as they were making themselves 'welcome' in the Welsh capital. As the bench was utilised to freshen things up in the forwards and apply a final surge for victory, James Haskell charged towards the line and looked almost certain to go under the posts. Unfortunately for him he crashed into the heavily padded uprights instead and was denied, yet the referee deemed that illegal intervention by winger Alex Cuthbert had played its part, resulting in ten minutes in the bin for his trouble for not rolling away in the tackle.

The resultant penalty was slotted over by Ford to give the visitors the lead for the first time at 18-16. That became a lead of five points as the boot of Ford again took revenge on Welsh indiscipline minutes later.

Even back to their full complement for the final stages, the home side were unable to pierce Lancaster's men once more and they played out the last few minutes to claim their part of history. For a team sporting so many new faces and so few caps, it was a tremendous effort and sets them up well for the games to come.