Pivac’s side are closing in on the Six Nations title.
If England had been in charge of the Principality Stadium's tannoy system there is little doubt they would have traded the hymns and arias for their version of the Redemption Song, an accompaniment to the payback desires of several of their foremost players. The debt of obligation was pressing. It was time to front up. Billy Vunipola – a self-confessed dud so far in the championship - Owen Farrell likewise with Ben Youngs and Elliot Daly not far behind, a quartet in search of atonement, in urgent need of a performance befitting their status. No defeat can be airbrushed, no loss given a lick of varnish. After all, this was Wales’ highest total against England. Max Boyce will be reaching for his guitar. England were sloppy and dozy at critical times, ill-disciplined too. Yet there were a few more positives in the way they played than there had been against Scotland and Italy. The Big Four have earned a reprieve, a minor consolation it has to be said for England fans. The scoreboard is damning. There had been a gathering clamour of complaint about the ‘undroppable’ nature of their selections. Due consideration has to be given to the class-form equation: one is permanent, ingrained, deep-rooted, the preserve of the few; the other temporary, fleeting, capricious, an in-out state of being for the majority. The Untouchables had been cut as much slack as should be allowed. If Vunipola had been as direct in his running as he was in his stark self-appraisal of being ‘rubbish,’ and ‘a coward,’ then he, and England, would have been in their pomp. Talking the talk is one thing. Vunipola came out of the confessional, threw off his sackcloth and ashes and filled the white shirt with resolve and drive. Run after run, carry after carry. Welcome back Billy. The most metres he had ever made for England was 94 metres against Ireland in 2016. Here he managed 125 from 15 carries. There is more to come from him yet but with a very fitting barometer opposite him in Taulepe Faletau, Vunipola was not found wanting by comparison, and in front of watching Lions coach Warren Gatland.
The fast bowler has been released by the BCCI due to personal reasons