Jonny May scored his first Six Nations tries as England held off a valiant Wales effort to secure their 15th consecutive home win after a pulsating contest at Twickenham.

The Leicester Tigers winger struck twice in the opening quarter to seemingly put the defending champions on course for a handsome victory.

But Wales hung in the contest and should have scored a try of their own before the break after Gareth Anscombe was wrongly adjudged not to have grounded the ball in the corner.

Warren Gatland had hoped his side's superior fitness would tell in the closing minutes and it almost paid dividends when Scott Williams drove towards the corner but he was stopped by replacement Sam Underhill

Thereafter - bar a foray by George North - England held Wales at arms length and secured their second victory of the 2018 championship after a second 40 minutes with only one score; a solitary Anscombe penalty which was not enough to provoke a late comeback.

"I cannot understand why they haven't awarded the try to Gareth Anscombe," said Wales coach Gatland. "He clearly has hit hand on the ball. In front of 82,000 to get the decision wrong, we'll be seeking some clarification afterwards.

"We weren't at our best," added Jones. "I am so proud of our boys."

Ahead of the 131st meeting between these two giants of the sport, few could have considered that the pre-match build-up could be bathed in even greater hysteria.

Wales have often seen England as their Mount Everest and thanks to their 20 victories at the home of the Red Rose - most notably at the 2015 World Cup - they now travel across the Severn Bridge in hope rather than expectation.

But thanks to Eddie Jones' cutting criticism of the Welsh second string - thanks to the loss of five starting British and Irish Lions - particularly of fly-half Rhys Patchell, a fresh sting of animosity had been introduced into the contest.

Not that it was exactly required. England vs Wales matches have forever been preceded by graceless verbal jousting, but it exposed that the hosts are perhaps fearful of the 26-time winners of this competition.

Victory over Scotland on the opening weekend may have come amid numerous errors from the visitors to the Principality Stadium but it nevertheless came as a surprise that the Scarlets-fuelled side could live with international-calibre opponents.

Leigh Halfpenny's late withdrawal ensured that the contingent hailing from the Pro12 champions had been reduced to nine yet nonetheless it was another chance to show how close the region could get to a team supposedly building towards a second World Cup crown in 2019.

If Jones' prophecy over Patchell had been anything other mischievous, the Aussie can't have imagined it would ring true as early as the third minute.

The fly-half's failure to gather in Farrell's booming kick set the platform for the opening England try. The Saracens man scooped up the loose ball and played a kick-through befitting of the Nou Camp rather than Twickenham to free May who went over with aplomb.

Patchell then missed the chance to reduce the arrears from the floor, and barely a fraction of a way into the contest he must have been hoping that the whole of Richmond upon Thames would swallow him up.

Many of his team would have been willing to join him after May scored an extraordinary second after Joe Launchbury's pass round the corner, before Anscombe was denied what looked a certain try despite grounding the ball before the covering Anthony Watson.

It would be wrong to overlook Wales' industry - rewarded by a single Patchell penalty - particularly in the final 15 minutes of the first half but England's brutal tackling squeezed the visitors for room and backed up their effective finishing.

The second period started much like the first, with England dominating possession though they were unable to increase their lead despite having regular possession in Wales territory.

The introduction of George North, replacing Patchell, signalled that Wales were far from finished despite being a score adrift and much like they had towards the end of the opening 40 minutes they lay siege on the England line in the Twickenham twilight.

Williams looked destined to set up a grand stand finale but was denied by a remarkable tackle from half-time substitute Sam Underhill in the corner. It was a moment which would not only go to change the contest, but also define it.

Gatland's hope that Wales would possess the superior fitness in the latter stages failed to materialise as England's finishers produced the kind of game management needed to win test matches.

Anscombe did kick a late penalty to secure Wales a bonus point and give them one last tilt at a last gasp victory but amid the teaming rain England held on to take another step towards a third consecutive title.