TEENAGE wings Noah Cato and Miles Benjamin got England's Six Nations campaign off to a flying start with superb scores against Wales at Kingsholm, writes Simon Mills.
The two 19-year-olds both touched down on their Guinness Premiership debuts for Saracens and Worcester Warriors respectively this season and showed why they are such hot properties with a try apiece in the first half in England's 28-15 victory.
Bristol centre Luke Eves added a third try early in the second half and Saracens fly half Alex Goode added two conversions and two penalties to complete a convincing win.
Wales threatened early on and clawed their way back into the game when lock Josh Turnball scored in the corner to add to Leigh Halfpenny's penalty and the Blues wing then converted his own late try after blazing his way through a midfield gap.
England had been forced to make one late change, a hamstring injury forcing Saracens flanker Andy Saull out of the side. Worcester's Matthew Cox stepped into the breach with Harlequins' Tom Sargeant drafted in on the bench.
They were bright in the opening few minutes - Benjamin, Cato and Eves all threatening in broken play - before Wales put together a coherent spell with Jimmy Norris going close on the left and Daniel Evans missing with a long-range drop-goal.
Then they gained the ascendancy with a series of close-range drives for the line and just when Wales thought they had weathered the storm they were floored by Cato's superb surge 24 minutes in.
A lineout 40 metres out gave fly half Goode the chance to pick out the wing, who burst through a midfield hole and then changed the angle of his run to outstrip the cover and score.
Goode converted and 10 minutes later added the extra points from wide out to a scintillating second from Benjamin.
Wales were overloaded out wide by Eves and Tonks who gave Benjamin the chance to show the finishing power that has earned him a Premiership starting spot at Worcester by brushing off tackles and keeping his balance to go over on the right.
Halfpenny replied immediately with a penalty for Wales but England continued to look dangerous before the break to set up the position for Goode to add another three points.
And although Wales regrouped briefly, they were in real trouble when Eves added a third try after a turnover was spun wide and Cato offloaded inside for the Bristol centre to score in the 50th minute.
Benjamin nearly got on the scoresheet again when he just failed to gather Goode's cross kick and Cato was called back for a forward pass in the build-up when Greig Tonks put him in the clear.
Goode kept the scoreboard ticking over with a second penalty after 56 minutes to send his side 22 points clear but they weren't home yet as Wales staged a combative revival.
Scarlets lock Josh Turnball spun off the side of a ruck in the corner to throw his side a lifeline with 20 minutes remaining and they continued to make life uncomfortable for the hosts at the breakdown.
The game was halted while Wales No.8 Lloyd Phillips received lengthy treatment before being carried off and immediately after the restart Halfpenny struck from long-range to put England under pressure for the last five minutes.
They regained control, though, and Goode's third penalty put them in the clear once more to complete a memorable and promising victory.
England: Greig Tonks (Leicester Tigers); Noah Cato (Saracens), Luke Eves (Bristol Rugby), Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins), Miles Benjamin (Worcester Warriors); Alex Goode (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers); Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby), Joe Gray (Northampton Saints), Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Gregor Gillanders (Leicester Tigers), Scott Hobson (Cornish Pirates), Jon Fisher (London Irish), Matthew Cox (Worcester Warriors), Hugo Ellis (London Wasps, captain)
Replacements: Billy Moss (Bath Rugby) for Corbisiero 76, Tom Sargeant (Harlequins) for Cox 76, Dan Norton (Gloucester Rugby) for Tonks 75, Seb Stegmann (Harlequins) for Norton 80.
Not used: Scott Freer (Leeds Carnegie), Ben Thomas (Saracens), Jonny Arr (Worcester Warriors).
Wales: Daniel Evans (Scarlets); Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), Gareth Owen (Ospreys), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jimmy Norris (Dragons); Daniel Biggar (Ospreys), Gareth Williams (Ospreys); Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Ben Roberts (Dragons), Patrick Palmer (Blues), Josh Turnball (Scarlets), Jevon Groves (Blues, captain), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Nic Cudd (Scarlets), Lloyd Phillips (Scarlets).
Replacements: Sam Hobbs (Blues) for Bevington 64, Ryan Prosser (Bristol) for Roberts 54, Scott Andrews (Blues) for Palmer 54, Rory Pitman (Ospreys) for Phillips 72, Haydn Pugh (Scarlets) for Tipuric 76, Luke Evans (Blues) for Williams, Rhys Williams (Scarlets) for Owen 45.
Named Man of the Match by BT Sport, scrum-half Willi Heinz said after the 15-11 win at Bath on Friday evening that it was a pretty happy Gloucester dressing room and reward for a lot of hard work put in during the week leading up to the game.
Speaking after the 15-11 win over Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, David Humphreys heaped praise on his players, pointing out how they had bounced back after last week's tough defeat to overcome a rough start before controlling the game and earning the win.
Gloucester Rugby hooker Richard Hibbard spoke to the local media this week as the Cherry and Whites prepare to face Bath Rugby in the Aviva Premiership. The Welshman is ready to bounce back at The Rec.
Speaking to the local media about the local derby against Bath at the Rec on Friday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys acknowledged that it will be a tough encounter but hugely exciting at the same time and one the squad are looking forward to.
A visibly disappointed Billy Twelvetrees admitted that it was a very sombre Gloucester dressing room as a last minute try and conversion condemned the Cherry and Whites to an 18-19 defeat against Leicester Tigers on Saturday.
A disappointed Tom Savage told GRTV, after the 18-19 defeat at home to the Leicester Tigers, that the whole Gloucester team had put in a fantastic effort, but just couldn't find the extra one or two percent necessary to put away a top side.
Speaking after the narrow loss to Leicester Tigers on Saturday afternoon, David Humphreys says despite there being a lot of good in Gloucester's performance, he rued the failure to close the game out, as well as thanking the home support
Kiwi second row Jeremy Thrush is thoroughly enjoying his time in Cherry and White so far, and this weekend the Leicester Tigers are the visitors to Kingsholm, and the All Black is massively excited about the challenge.
After two wins in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, securing a home quarter-final, David Humphreys told the local media this week that Gloucester are coming into Saturday's game in good physical shape having rotated the squad. However, he and the squad are prepared for a tough encounter against the Tigers.
The Early Bird deadline for ticket purchases for the Aviva Premiership fixture against Harlequins on Saturday will expire at 6:30pm on Thursday evening, with tickets already limited for one area of Kingsholm.