March 11, 2018 / 3:32 PM / 3 months ago

Rugby-England's continued lack of discipline will cost them against Ireland

March 11 (Reuters) - England will be outclassed by newly-crowned Six Nations champions Ireland at Twickenham if they fail to deal with their repeated disciplinary issues, former captain Lawrence Dallaglio said.

Eddie Jones’ side were beaten by Scotland last month after being repeatedly penalised at the breakdown and failed to rectify their errors in Saturday’s 22-16 loss to France.

England conceded 16 penalties in Paris and a repeat could cost them against a rampant Ireland side that are on the verge of a Grand Slam.

“Discipline was awful. England conceded 16 penalties, an absurd number. Many of these stemmed from the breakdown,” Dallaglio wrote in his column for The Times.

“It is not as if they hadn’t had a recent warning about what would happen if they did not master the battle on the floor.”

Jones also lamented his side’s inability to adapt to the evolving refereeing standards in the game.

Dallaglio criticised England’s attackers for being too flat and unable to break down a mediocre French defence.

“Yet again, it was the same problem: players going to ground too easily, getting isolated and holding on. That tells me that one of two things are wrong,” Dallaglio added.

“Either players are going off script and not implementing the attacking game plan, or there appears to be a lack of clarity in that plan.

“I hope it is the former and that a few more strong words from Jones and some serious soul-searching will act as a corrective. I fear that it could be the latter...”

The 45-year-old also pointed to Ireland’s last-gasp win over France last month to reiterate that England’s attackers failed to make the most of their chances unlike their Irish counterparts.

“... The Irish kept their nerve, worked their way down the field through 40-odd phases and won with the last play of the game. England, on the other hand, butchered two attacking lineouts from striking range. That is not acceptable,” he added.

England have lost consecutive games under Jones for the first time and face a tough task ending that streak against Ireland next Saturday. (Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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