Eddie Jones believes Maro Itoje may be too closely scrutinised by referees following his function within the sick‑disciplined defeat in Wales on Saturday however England won’t make an official grievance over the French referee Pascal Gaüzère, regardless of two extremely contentious selections.
England have been left fuming after Josh Adams’ opening try to equally displeased by Liam Williams’ rating quickly after however Jones bit his lip when addressing Gaüzère’s efficiency, as an alternative highlighting his crew’s lack of ability to cease infringing throughout the 40-24 defeat.
England shipped 14 penalties in whole, together with three in fast succession within the closing 20 minutes – all kicked by Callum Sheedy, who revealed Wales “knew if we may choke them sufficient, they might get ill-disciplined”. Itoje was the chief offender with 4 penalties in opposition to within the opening 28 minutes – in addition to a pricey fifth within the second half – and whereas some have been borderline, Itoje habitually treads a high quality line between pushing the boundaries and overstepping the mark. In whole, he has conceded 10 in England’s three matches.
Jones has lately endorsed Itoje as a possible British & Irish Lions captain but it surely stays to be seen how Saturday’s efficiency will affect the considering of Warren Gatland, who was on the Principality Stadium. And evaluating Itoje to the previous Australia flanker George Smith, who gained 111 Check caps, Jones mentioned: “He is likely one of the greatest gamers on the earth and he performs the sport on the sting. Generally the referees are likely to over-referee a participant like him.
“On the similar time, there are areas of the sport he must tidy up and he is aware of that. He’s a great boy. An excellent participant. There are only a few issues in his recreation he must tidy up. There are some particular person points [with discipline], which can be handled on a person foundation. On a crew foundation, the most important factor was the roll away within the deal with. We’ll simply need to do extra extra work in that space.”
Wales’s first strive got here when Gaüzère instructed Owen Farrell to talk to his teammates about their ill-discipline earlier than promptly restarting play, permitting Dan Biggar to kick a penalty throughout area for Adams, who scored with quite a few England gamers out of place. Farrell was livid on the time and the previous England captain Martin Johnson, on responsibility as a TV pundit, labelled the incident “appalling refereeing”.
England’s frustrations have been compounded when Wales’ second strive was awarded after session with the TMO regardless of an obvious knock‑on from Louis Rees-Zammit within the buildup. It’s understood no official grievance can be made to World Rugby.
Two years in the past Jones raged at Gaüzère after Wales scored a strive much like Adams’ on Saturday, catching England chilly in a World Cup warm-up match. That prompted a legislation modification by World Rugby as a result of England’s momentary alternative for Willi Heinz had not but entered the sphere of play. It’s understood, nonetheless, that World Rugby considers Adams’ strive a matter of Gaüzère’s “administration” of the sport moderately than an utility of the legal guidelines. Jones will nonetheless have the prospect to voice his opinion as a part of his enter into the official overview of the match officers – as is commonplace observe – and Gaüzère may very well be dropped from future internationals if his efficiency is deemed to be unsatisfactory.
The upshot is that England have now misplaced two of their first three matches and are out of the operating for the title. With the squad given the week off, Jones on Sunday attended Bathtub’s victory in opposition to Northampton earlier than his preparation begins for the matches in opposition to France at Twickenham and Eire in Dublin.
“We’ve been by way of these intervals earlier than, each crew goes by way of these and I don’t know of a crew that doesn’t,” Jones mentioned. “Everybody goes to have an opinion. Some could be proper, however we simply have to verify we pay attention to what’s vital and the vital factor is what goes on within the crew. We all know how arduous we’re working and we all know what course we’re getting into and we are going to get out of this.”
There may be, nonetheless, a level of doubt over England’s match in opposition to France on Saturday week with the French sports activities minister, Roxana Maracineanu, threatening to drag Les Bleus from the Six Nations amid an investigation into the Covid-19 outbreak inside the camp. Maracineanu gave France dispensation to participate within the match final month however there may be rising acrimony over the reason for the outbreak.
Wales in the meantime moved above France within the desk and, offered Maracineanu reveals leniency, look set to go to Paris on 20 March chasing the grand slam, after a visit to Italy the week earlier than. However the captain Alun Wyn Jones mentioned: “There isn’t a discuss of [the grand slam]. Italy traditionally get higher because the competitors goes on. They are going to be hurting from the defeats they’ve had, so that’s our subsequent focus.”