Wales 40 England 24: Wales make the most of England's lack of discipline - and referee calls

Defending champions England lost grasp of their Six Nations crown with another ill-disciplined display in Cardiff - although they may point to some alarmingly contentious refereeing decisions as mitigation in this sobering defeat against Wales.

England captain Owen Farrell asks linesman Frank Murphy for clarity after Wales' opening try in the Guinness Six Nations against Wales. (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Eddie Jones’ side, already under pressure before his contest, were behind for most of the game but drew level at 24-24 after Ben Youngs sniped over for a converted try in the 62nd minute.

However, the visitors - who had already lost at home to Scotland - then threw away the contest and their hopes of retaining the title after some shambolic infringing late on.

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Callum Sheedy slotted three penalties in seven minutes to hand Wales the Triple Crown and keep their Grand Slam dream alive, replacement forward Cory Hill securing a bonus point with their fourth try at the death.

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones congratulates Cory Hill after he scored their side's fourth try during the Guinness Six Nations against England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

In fairness, England never truly recovered after conceding two bizarre tries in the first period.

They were furious about the first. And rightly so.

Owen Farrell could have argued he was harshly judged not to have rolled away in the tackle.

But the captain’s main issue, after being told to go back and speak to his team-mates about persistent infringement, was that referee Pascal Gauzere restarted play while almost the entire side were still huddled between the posts.

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar did not hang around and launched an admittedly inch-perfect crossfield kick to the left for winger Josh Adams to take on the full and score as England desperately tried to make up the ground.

Farrell was incredulous insisting to the French official that his side needed time to set and that water carriers were still dotted around all over the pitch.

His pleas fell on deaf ears. It was a farcical decision by the referee.

Nevertheless, Wales could be deemed fortunate with their second try, too.

Adams dabbed a kick through the defensive line but fellow winger Louis Rees-Zammit failed to collect on the run as it bounced up, getting a hand to the ball but nothing else.

Still, it ricocheted off Jonny May back towards the England goalline and Liam Williams followed up to touch down, Gauzere awarding a try.

It was checked by the TMO and seemed an obvious knock-on - even Rees-Zammit’s reaction showed he thought so - but the officials ruled it was fine.

The ball never hit the ground and came off Rees-Zammit’s leg before hitting May although he was never in control.

Still, to compound England’s misery further, Biggar was successful with the touchline conversion attempt - as the ball bounced over off an upright for a 17-6 lead.

Not for the first time on his 50th England appearance, Elliot Daly spilled as the visitors attacked on first phase ball, the sort of frustrating needless error that would continue to stymie them.

Their discipline was poor again, too, with numerous penalties early on, yet when they got things right they looked more dangerous than at any point in the tournament so far.

That was illustrated when England scored with their first real attack of the first period, creating an overlap with apparent ease down the blinside and hooker Jamie George producing a fine final pass for winger Anthony Watson to finish well in the 36th minute.

Liam Williams produced a brilliant turnover after Daly had made a break with England threatening again all of a sudden but a Farrell penalty saw his side trail just 17-14 at the break.

He missed a long range penalty effort at the start of the second period, though, and, soon after, Wales capitalised when young scrum-half Kieran Hardy - on his first Six Nations start - brilliantly zipped over from a tap after yet another penalty.

Sheedy, who had replaced Biggar, converted but Farrell slotted his fourth penalty of the evening, meaning his conversion after Youngs’ try levelled matters.

But then England imploded with Maro Itoje conceded his fourth penalty of the evening for Sheedy to turn the screw. His side never looked back.