WALES climbed to the top of the world rankings after standing firm against England’s power game to avenge their Twickenham disappointment.

Warren Gatland’s men missed their shot at overtaking the All Blacks after being beaten 33-19 in London on Sunday.

However, the Six Nations champions made no mistake on home soil to take the spoils 13-6 in the second of their World Cup warm-ups, defending tenaciously and with physicality to keep Eddie Jones’ challengers tryless.

It means that Wales will go to the top of World Rugby’s rankings at midday on Monday, now they can keep grafting in the bid to keep that honour in Japan.

South Wales Argus:

Their win at Principality Stadium, with a try by George North proving to be the difference, was a strong response to the Twickenham disappointment.

This clash had more of a Test match feel in that defences were stronger, ensuring there were fewer line breaks and clearcut chances.

Gatland said on Sunday that the English had thrived thanks to their usual grinding, direct style at Twickenham and pledged to deal with it better in Cardiff.

His players helped him fulfil that promise.

It was one win apiece, England winning 39-32 on aggregate from a double-header that reinforces that both teams should be contenders in Japan.

The amount of dust-ups suggest that while both teams were grateful for the help in blowing away cobwebs, there were some thoughts of a potential quarter-final meeting in Oita.

South Wales Argus:

Wales were forced into a late change with Leigh Halfpenny coming in at full-back for Liam Williams, Gatland taking no risks with a tight hamstring.

The hosts made a much-needed stronger start after being sluggish at Twickenham with Dragons flanker Aaron Wainwright to the fore, the workaholic flanker carrying three times in the opening three minutes.

Both sides were running with intent but defences were more solid than six days ago and it remained scoreless after a quarter, neither side conjuring a glaring opportunity.

There was plenty of good, however, with Wainwright providing a big tick with his energy after racking up four carries, an offload, five tackles and being a prime lineout option to go along with his ruck work.

But while the blindside was impressing, openside James Davies was denied the opportunity to catch the eye after being forced off by injury in the 24 minutes.

Soon after the deadlock was broken when Wales settled for three points from the boot of Dan Biggar after pressure inside the 22.

And the fly-half was a key figure in the home side going 10-0 up in the 33rd minute, thinking sharply to catch out England after a yellow card for wing Anthony Watson for a deliberate knock on.

The visitors had a lengthy huddle while the TMO was looking at the incident and failed to get organised after the caution, hesitancy that Biggar was quick to spot.

He kicked to the right flank from his own 10-metre line and found Josh Adams, who raced in the 22, then Biggar put George North over down the left with an inch-perfect kick-pass.

Wales were unable to add to the score against the 14 men before the break but would have been content with a 10-0 advantage after trailing both in the Six Nations clash and last Sunday’s encounter.

South Wales Argus:

Wales returned for the second half without Wainwright, who had received treatment to his right thigh after carrying hard into the large frame Billy Vunipola.

It was a strangely lethargic start yet it was England that had the first opportunity after two penalties worked them to the corner only for Wales to repel the drive and win a turnover.

However, they went off their feet after a strong Moriarty charge from the resulting five-metre scrum and George Ford made no mistake from the tee to cut the lead to 10-3 after 51 minutes.

The fly-half repeated the trick from bang in front after 55 minutes and Wales needed to reignite.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny was agonisingly close to regaining the seven-point buffer with a long-range effort on the hour.

Wales suffered a blow when Jake Ball limped off after 66 minutes with the earlier injuries forcing them to replace the lock with Dragons hooker Elliot Dee.

A Maro Itoje interception denied the hosts when they were pushing inside the 22 but England were kept at arm’s length as the clock ticked into the 70s.

Not only that, Halfpenny got a second chance at goal in the 75th minute when George Kruis was offside in midfield.

This time the full-back made no mistake to leave Wales protecting a seven-point lead.

England went on the hunt for a draw and forced their hosts to infringe after an Owen Farrell break into the 22.

The visitors went back to the corner and put the squeeze on, only for Wales to once again stand firm and secure the spoils.

Wales: L Halfpenny, G North, J Davies, H Parkes (O Watkin 75), J Adams; D Biggar (J Evans 74), G Davies (A Davies 60); N Smith (W Jones 46), K Owens, T Francis (D Lewis 46), J Ball (E Dee 64), AW Jones (captain), A Wainwright (A Shingler 40), J Davies (J Navidi 23), R Moriarty.

Scorers: try – G North; conversion – D Biggar; penalties – D Biggar, L Halfpenny

England: E Daly, A Watson, J Joseph, P Francis (O Farrell 51), J Cokanasiga; G Ford (M Tuilagi 60), W Heinz (B Youngs 33-40, 45); E Genge (J Marler 44), L Cowan-Dickie (J George 44), D Cole (K Sinckler 60), J Launchbury (G Kruis 54), M Itoje, C Lawes, L Ludlam (J Singleton 74), B Vunipola.

Scorers: penalties – G Ford

Referee: P Gauzere (France)

Attendance: 73,931