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.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
Speaking to the local media this week, David Humphreys admitted that team selection for Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at Bath has not been an easy one, with numerous players ruled out due to injury and suspension. However, he pledged that whoever is wearing the Cherry and White will be 100% committed to fighting until the very last minute.
It was a thriller at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon, as Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leveling the scores in the final minute before triumphing in extra time over a spirited Connacht side.
Having defeated Connacht Rugby in dramatic fashion in the first play-off for the final spot in the 2015-16 European Rugby Champions Cup, Gloucester Rugby can confirm ticketing details for next Sunday's game against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways.
Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and move on to next weekend's European Champions Cup final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles after a dramatic extra time win over a valiant Connacht side.
With Connacht Rugby the visitors to Kingsholm on Sunday (kick off 3:30pm) for Sunday's European Rugby Champions Cup play-off, Gloucester ring the changes from the side that took the field against Bath last weekend.