England's biggest Six Nations issue
SIX NATIONS SPOTLIGHT: England boss Eddie Jones said his players have taken responsibility for the indiscipline that damaged their Six Nations title defence.
Several of Jones’ squad made a point of calling him during their week off after the dismal 24-40 thrashing by Wales.
Across the opening three rounds of the Six Nations, England have conceded a tournament-high average of 13.6 penalties per game.
Maro Itoje alone conceded five against Wales in Cardiff, but Jones believes it is his players’ desire to make an impact that is incurring the wrath of referees.
#⃣WATCH as @EnglandRugby captain @owen_faz is caught doing exactly what he spat the dummy about after his team lost to @WelshRugbyUnion
🏢Those who live in glass houses …
😢Can England Rugby afford such a #petulant captain⁉️#Rugby #ReturnToRugby
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) March 5, 2021
“No one goes out there and tries to give away penalties. Everyone is working hard but sometimes players just over-exert in certain areas,” Jones said.
“Those players we’ll have a quiet chat to and they’ve been reflecting on it. I’ve had at least three or four players ring me during the week to talk about how they need to tend to their errors. That’s the great honesty of this team. We’ll keep working on that.
“A number of the penalties have been because the players are trying too hard. That’s something that only an individual player can fix, that ability to be in the moment and do the right thing at that particular moment.
“Sometimes it’s because players can’t get what they want in areas they’re usually good at. People use discipline as an over-arching term but it’s generally a by-product of something else in the game.
“Sometimes it’s the pressure the opposition put on you. Sometimes it’s the pressure the player puts on themselves to try and find a way to get into the game. So there are myriad reasons for it and we can’t sort it out with one stroke of the pen.
“But we’re working through it and I know this team is very honest and really wants to solve it.”
Jones is working on England’s discipline issues ahead of Saturday’s clash with France at Twickenham.
But he admits his squad are going through a transition period after the losses to Wales and Scotland.
“I want them to be ready to play and we are working with some of our young guys to make sure they’re ready to play,” he said.
“We’ve got eyes on a number of other young players, and the team was always going to go through this transition.”