Wales got their World Cup preparations off to a winning start as they held England pointless in the second half to race to victory by 20-9 with two tries.

If it was pretty in a dour first half, the resilience of the Welsh defence held England to 9-6, three Marcus Smith penalties to two from Leigh Halfpenny on the occasion of his 100thcap for his country.

But if it had been a little bit disjointed in the first half, understandably so given it was the first game after a gruelling 12 weeks of training, there was real skill and innovation after the break.

Gareth Davies and Goytre-based George North scored tries and there could have been a third for Louis Rees-Zammit.

Davies tracked an inside line in support of a brilliant combination on the right wing between back row men Aaron Wainwright and inspirational skipper Jac Morgan.

It was a pin-point cross field kick from Sam Costelow that allowed the outstanding Wainwright to catch the ball on the full, bounce out of a tackle by Danny Care and then release to Morgan.

Morgan ran into the 22 and heard the call from Davies on his inside to send the scrum half over for his 16th try for Wales.

Halfpenny stepped up to add the conversion and Wales led for the first time in the match in the 47th minute.

From there they never looked back and simply got better and better. Having spent much of the first half on the back foot, they put England under constant threat as they went on to win 20-9 as their visitors failed to add to their first-half tally.

Tomos Williams and Dan Biggar came on to dominate tactics at half-back, Nicky Smith and Henry Thomas, winning his first Welsh cap after earning seven for England, steadied the scrum and Ben Carter was a lively addition to the second row.

Taine Plumtree came on to join Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti and Max Llewellyn in winning his first cap when he came on after 50 minutes and it ended up being a superb effort all round from the 23 players.

Centre Mason Grady was forced to come on to replace second row Dafydd Jenkins and his first action was to join a line-out. His second was to almost score in the left corner.

Grady alternated with North in packing down in the back row at scrum time with Plumtree pushed up into the second row alongside Carter. It was a great display of versatility all round.

North was next over the England line when he notched his 45th try for his county in the 56th minute, taking a pass at the posts to trot across after great forward pressure. Halfpenny added the extras.

Rees-Zammit almost put the icing on the cake with six minutes to go when he sped up the right wing, kicked ahead and seemed to have somehow beaten Freddie Steward to the bounce. Referee Nic Berry went to the TMO, Joy Neville, to determine try or no try and she initially awarded the score.

However, Berry asked for a second look and decided there was a separation between the ball and his hands as he first pounced to score. It was marginal, and upset Rees-Zammit and the crowd, but the scoreboard stayed the same.

In the end, though, it was a job well done by Warren Gatland’s men, who now head to Twickenham for round two against England.

Then they come back to Principality Stadium to face the reigning world champions, South Africa on Saturday, 19 August.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said: ""It was a good start but there's still lots to work on.

"It was a pleasing result. Getting some debuts and those scores in the second-half was the most pleasing aspect.

"I was a little bit apprehensive this morning as I wasn't quite sure how things were going to go.

"I know the players have been working hard and I was looking for a performance and it was a good start today.

"[Winning] wasn't important at all, it was the performance I was more interested in and thought those guys out there gave us a performance. 

"There were some good individuals on show and the last 20 minutes we just looked comfortable."

With Wales not conceding a try, he added: ""Defence is, as Shaun Edwards [former Wales defence coach] often said, just 80% about being fit.

"The boys showed the work we've done over the past eight weeks or so that we are in a pretty good place physically."

New captain Aaron Wainwright he described as "outstanding" and though No 8 Aaron Wainwright "had his best game in a Wales jersey."

"We've spoken a lot about Jac and where he'll play. We had a conversation earlier on in this campaign about where he sees himself - we see him as a seven," he added.

"There's good competition there with Tommy Reffell and Taine Basham. Going forward, it's about making sure we have that balance of physicality and size that's needed in the back-row.

"We also needed sixes who are good line-out options. We aren't blessed with numbers and choices in the past but we are working towards that."

Gatland is looking to nail down his 33-man squad and opening side to face Fiji in the World Cup opener on 10 September in Bordeaux.

And he said: ""If we were to name a starting team tomorrow [for Fiji] then we'd probably only have about three names nailed on,.

"There's some serious competition in this squad. It's a nice position to be in and we'll get some good confidence from that game today going into next week.

"In 2019 when we won the Grand Slam, we had a settled side and we knew what a large number of our World Cup squad was going to be. The team today did exceptionally well and the players put a marker down.

"The pleasing thing is there's a group of players who will get an opportunity next week who are desperate to perform."