Eng­land play­ers pay the penalty

Lat­est from the Rugby World Cup

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT - BY DUN­CAN BECH

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

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