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RugbyU: Howley proud as Wales wreck England's Slam bid

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Rob Howley said he was "proud to be a Welshman" after seeing his side destroy England's bid for a Grand Slam with a record-breaking 30-3 win that also saw them retain their Six Nations title.

Wales had to beat England by a minimum seven points, while maintaining their superior try-count, to hold onto the title they won with a Grand Slam last year.

But pre-match predictions of complicated calculations were swept aside under the Millennium Stadium's closed roof where Wales overpowered England at the scrum.

Wales wing Alex Cuthbert's two second half tries delighted the bulk of a 74,104 crowd while full-back Leigh Halfpenny and fly-half Dan Biggar kicked the remainder of Wales's 20 points between them.

England, bidding for a first Grand Slam since their World Cup-winning year of 2003, managing just a solitary Owen Farrell penalty in reply as they suffered their heaviest defeat since Stuart Lancaster became coach in 2012.

"I'm just really proud to be a Welshman this evening," said interim head coach Howley as Wales broke a 108-year-old record by surpassing their previous biggest winning margin against England of 25-0 set at Cardiff back in 1905.

Former Wales scrum-half Howley, in caretaker charge while Warren Gatland is seconded to the British and Irish Lions for their upcoming tour of Australia, had presided over a 3-0 series loss in Australia last year and a run of five straight Millennium Stadium defeats.

But since the second half of a first round 30-22 loss to Ireland in Cardiff, Wales have now gone nearly six hours without conceding a try.

"I thought we were outstanding today," said Howley. "I think to be part of a side that has gained momentum back in a Championship is so difficult.

"This team is not a bad team and I'm delighted in terms of winning but more so the performance they showed in the second half -- they are not a bad team."

Wales and England, together with Australia, are all in the same pool at the 2015 World Cup in England.

"I've huge respect for England, they are in our World Cup group and it's something which we are very mindful of," Howley added. "It's probably the best day of my coaching career to be honest."

Lancaster agreed Wales were worthy winners but said a youthful England side, for whom Saturday's reverse ended a run of five straight wins starting with victory over world champions New Zealand in December, would learn from this chastening defeat.

"No complaints, the best side won on the day," Lancaster said. "From our point of view it's a very disappointed dressing room and coaching staff.

"On the bigger picture we'll learn a lot from it. Wales have 650 caps, we have less than 300 and we've managed in other games to get momentum and a foothold in the game."

Lancaster insisted this match would have no bearing on the 2015 Anglo-Welsh World Cup encounter.

"I think we play a few times before then, two lots of Six Nations. We're a young side and I don't think any international side goes unbeaten."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130316/rugbyu-howley-proud-wales-wreck-englands-slam-bid