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.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
David Humphreys was minutes away from a winning interview on Saturday afternoon, but a late try from Exeter Chiefs meant the points were shared at Sandy Park. Humphreys spoke with the local media after the 27-27 draw.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Exeter Chiefs, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reiterated that there are elements of Gloucester's game that are in good shape at present, that the performance against Bath was a step forward from Newcastle but that individual errors are costing the Cherry and Whites dear.
Centre Matt Scott, a try-scorer in Bayonne last weekend, insists that Gloucester are taking nothing for granted when they welcome Benetton Treviso to Kingsholm on Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm).