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.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
Speaking to the local media after the 35-22 loss at Wasps, lock Tom Savage spoke of his disappointment at the result, with Gloucester left to rue a number of missed opportunities against a clinical home side.
Speaking after his return from England duty, Gloucester winger Jonny May reflected on England winning the Six Nations Championship, if not the Grand Slam, and what he needs to focus on to get back into the starting line-up.
Ross Moriarty started for Wales at the Stade de France on Saturday while Matt Scott was a replacement for Scotland. It was Scott who finished the day the happier, a try-scorer in a 29-0 victory over Italy.