England players pay the penalty
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England have addressed their indiscipline issues by punishing players during training if they make mistakes worthy of conceding a penalty.
Veteran scrum-half Ben Youngs revealed that Eddie Jones introduced the measure during the build-up to the World Cup in the hope of eradicating the type of error that has long been an Achilles heel.
Any players who commit offences such as staying offside are punished by being made to do a series of gruelling exercises.
England face New Zealand in Saturday’s semi-final and Youngs knows the Red Rose must be pinpoint in accuracy if they are to topple the world champion All Blacks.
“We put a big emphasis on our discipline throughout pre-season and at the weekend it’s going to be absolutely vital for that,”
Youngs said. “If boys did things in training they were sent to the corner of the pitch an the punishment would be a few down-ups, a few runs – it’s normally the big boys who spent the time there and they would go with the strength and conditioning coach.
“It’s something that we haven’t always been terrific at, but certainly in this tournament we’ve been very, very good.
“We’ve been pleased at how we’ve been able to make sure we’ve stayed disciplined.
“I didn’t get a flogging, I was too disciplined so I never went there. It was just for things like offsides and everything like that.”
The most recent time the rivals clashed was at Twickenham last autumn when a controversial offside decision against Courtney Lawes meant Sam Underhill’s late try that would have clinched a famous victory was disallowed.
“Everything gets checked now, just to make sure for confirmation, so you’ve got to be absolutely on it,” Youngs said.
“Sam’s try is a very good example where you are just a little bit off and you don’t get the rewards.
“It’s no different to how we’ve approached every game this tournament.
“You’ve got to make sure you are accurate and you are disciplined.”
Forwards coach Steve Borthwick revealed that England expect to have all 31 players available for selection.
Wings Jack Nowell and Jonny May have made good progress in their recovery from hamstring injuries.
Jones’s “Kamikaze Kids” Tom Curry and Underhill will continue in the back row.
CONTROL ROOM: Ben Youngs will be England’s scrum-half on Saturday