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Wales CelebrateWarren Gatland's Wales successfully defended their RBS 6 Nations crown with a thumping 30-3 victory over England in March as the Red Rose fell at the final hurdle for the second time in three years.
Two tries from Alex Cuthbert, 12 points for Leigh Halfpenny and eight from Dan Biggar saw the Red Dragons dismantle the Grand Slam-chasing English in an explosive encounter at the Millennium Stadium.

A few weeks prior however, Wales were floundering.

A 30-22 defeat to Ireland in their opening clash was a fifth in a row for Wales at the Millennium Stadium and an eighth in total, and when Brian O'Driscoll dotted down for his 26th RBS 6 Nations try, Gatland's side were in all sorts of trouble at 30-3 down.

But while they were to go on and lose the match, a stirring second-half fightback, with tries from Cuthbert, Halfpenny and Craig Mitchell served as the catalyst for the rest of the competition.

Heading out on the road, Wales chalked up three consecutive away victories, firstly in France as George North's 71st-minute try proved pivotal and too much too handle for his dad David in a 16-6 win.
A 26-6 win in Rome followed as tries from Cuthbert - who would end the competition with four and as the top-scorer - and Jonathan Davies saw off Italy in difficult conditions.

And then Scotland became Wales' latest victims, Halfpenny turning in another performance that would contribute to his Player of the Tournament award with 23 points in a 28-18 win that saw no less than 13 penalties kicked.

That set up the deciding clash with England, who had opened the door for Wales by failing to put Italy to the sword at Twickenham in round four, ensuring that a win by seven points or more would be good enough for Gatland's side.

Prior to the Italy game, England appeared to have done all the hard work however. The Red Rose looked impressive in their opening victory against Scotland - Stuart Lancaster's fledglings spreading their wings in an emphatic 38-18 victory to retain the Calcutta Cup with Chris Ashton, Billy Twelvetrees on debut, Geoff Parling and Danny Care all scoring tries.

Up next was a war of attrition in Dublin and it was Owen Farrell who edged the kicking duel with Ronan O'Gara before a somewhat scrappy win over France - thanks to a fortuitous Manu Tuilagi try - edged England closer to a first Grand Slam since 2003.

Had they racked up a big score against Italy then Wales would have been out of sight but the Azzurri proved themselves no pushovers at Twickenham, scored the only try of the match through Luke McLean and England were hanging on at the death to secure an 18-11 victory.

England would have known better than to underestimate Italy however after Jacques Brunel's improving side began with another home victory over France - veterans Sergio Parisse and Martin Castrogiovanni sending the Stadio Olimpico faithful into rapture.

They came back down to earth with a bang however in round two as they were humbled 34-10 by Scotland at Murrayfield - Scott Johnson's side showing encouraging signs and Stuart Hogg demonstrating the form that would eventually see him named as the youngest member of the British & Irish Lions squad.

Things got progressively worse for Ireland after the high of their opening victory and after a narrow defeat to Ireland they were left wondering how they were leaving Murrayfield empty-handed after dominating territory and possession against Scotland, only to come away with a 12-8 defeat.

Up next for them was a home clash with France, also struggling after losing their first three matches and the two played out an absorbing 13-13 draw in Dublin.

In the final week however, things got worse for Declan Kidney's side as his mounting injury problems failed to improve in Rome - Peter O'Mahony cropped up on the wing at one point - as Italy chalked up a 22-15 win to ensure they finished the tournament in fourth place, just behind Scotland, who succumbed 23-16 to France in the final match of the competition - a result not good enough to see Les Bleus avoid bottom spot.
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