ALEX BYWATER: Wales will be sweating over the fitness of hooker Dewi Lake after he limped off early during 19-17 defeat by England
- England beat Wales at Twickenham in their pre-World Cup rematch on Saturday
- Dewi Lake captained Warren Gatland’s side before limping off early in the match
- They will hope it’s not too serious and he can still make the plane to France
This was supposed to be a day to remember for Dewi Lake and in some ways, it will always be that after he captained his country for the first time at senior level.
But an early departure from the Twickenham turf with a worrying knee injury would not have been part of the script the young hooker would have been dreaming about.
Lake’s mother Louvain and sister Iola-Belle had made a last-gasp dash back from the clubs of Magaluf for this game.
What a shame it was for them to see their nearest and dearest limp from the fray.
After Jac Morgan impressed as Wales’ first rookie captain of the summer in Cardiff last weekend, Saturday was Lake’s turn to take on the role.
Dewi Lake (R) captained Wales for the first time at senior level against England on Saturday
But he limped off early in the match and could be a doubt for the upcoming Rugby World Cup
Both players have led Wales at Under-20 level and are highly rated by Warren Gatland, hence them both being given a chance to do so with the senior side.
Wales head coach Gatland will hope Lake’s problem – suffered at a breakdown – is not too serious and he can still make the plane to France for the World Cup.
But hooker is now a concern for Wales, with Lake joining Ryan Elias in the treatment room. Lake was walking around at the final whistle.
Gatland may have to call for reinforcements in that area for the final warm-up clash with South Africa.
The sight of Taine Plumtree also leaving the field wouldn’t have improved Gatland’s mood.
Plumtree started only his second cap after arriving from New Zealand at No 8 but aside from a 50:22 kick, he was not at his best, producing several errors.
He was not the only one.
Sometimes a spade must be called a spade. This was a truly dreadful game of rugby.
Taine Plumtree also left the Twickenham field with an injury in another blow to Wales
Wales head coach Gatland will hope Lake’sinjury – suffered at a breakdown – is not too serious
Both England and Wales struggled for continuity. England’s side – which was close to full strength – never got going. They only just scraped victory over a mixed Welsh XV and celebrated like they’d just won the World Cup itself. Embarrassing.
Why on earth Owen Farrell kept going for goal from penalty kicks beggared belief. These World Cup warm-ups offer a priceless chance to try new things.
What have England learned by Farrell going for three points? Nothing.
Sections of the Twickenham crowd justly booed when Farrell kicked a penalty on the half-time whistle to put England 6-0 up. With Lake off the field, Adam Beard took over as Wales captain.
Gatland’s side spent long periods defending. They had little ball with which to attack.
But looking at the positives – and we must do that after an horrific dog’s dinner of a match – Gatland would have no doubt been pleased his side’s appetite in defence, even in defeat.
Wales’ past successes have had Shaun Edwards’ stamp all over them. Mike Forshaw looks like he is beginning to have an impact on the red wall now too.
Both England and Wales struggled for continuity in what was truly dreadful game of rugby
One desperate Josh Adams tackle summed up Wales’ hunger.
When he was on the field, Lake was put under pressure at the line-out. ‘Come on, he’s s****** himself,’ said one England player at an early set-piece.
Wales’ line-out and scrum remain a concern and they also lost Tommy Reffell to a second-half yellow card. Dan Biggar missed touch almost immediately after coming on but Wales were good on the whole in the aerial battle. Liam Williams was one Wales player who could be pleased with his evening’s work. Full-back Williams was an ocean of calm amid a sea of mediocrity.
Biggar’s cross-kick to Adams saw him beat Freddie Steward to the ball before being wiped out.
The result was a Wales penalty try and a yellow card for Steward, who joined Ellis Genge in the sin bin as England went down to 13 men.
Georgian referee Nika Amashukeli should really have sent Steward and Farrell off. Farrell made contact high with Taine Basham, summing up England’s frustration and it was entirely right his initial yellow was upgraded to a red via rugby’s new bunker system.
Georgian referee Nika Amashukeli should initially have sent Owen Farrell (left) off
It leaves England captain Farrell facing a potential ban which could yet rule him out of the World Cup opener with Argentina.
Amashukeli’s nit-picking refereeing didn’t help a dreadful match. Beard joined the long list of those to be carded late on as England inched home with Maro Itoje scoring.
It came after Welsh debutant Joe Roberts had sent Tomos Williams to the line.
But despite England’s victory, you get the feeling it is still Steve Borthwick with more questions to answer than Gatland.
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