Sinners can be winners in the game of cards
point, his loss was proven a price worth paying in terms of the scoreboard. “I don’t want to ever concede a try,” said Gustard yesterday.
“Every time we go into a game we try not to concede any points. We try not to let those boys get over our line.”
However, living up moniker as defence to his coach, Gustard took umbrage at suggestions England are being told to take discipline closer to the edge under their new management.
“I don’t coach ill- discipline and I don’t coach people trying to cheat. I coach people defending in a system,” he said. “It’s not a case of seeing how far the referee will go or what we can get away with. It’s not that at all. I want 15 defenders – I don’t want 14 or 13 because it makes it a lot harder.
“We might occasionally train with 14 but I’m not hoping we get a yellow card to save seven points.
“All I want to do is preach a perfect system and if we can get as close to that system as possible it will get us closer to winning rugby matches.” Perfection is a noble aim but the reality, in a chaotic game, is that teams have to settle for less idealistic aims.
Pragmatism, it appears, pays in the Six Nations. Asked last week whether taking a yellow card for the team is ever justifi ed, England prop Dan Cole had a very direct and very honest answer. “Yes,” said Cole.