England will keep their cool - Johnson
November 6, 2009
Martin Johnson is hoping for a quiet autumn on the disciplinary front © Getty Images
England manager Martin Johnson is convinced that there will be no repeat of the indiscipline which blighted their last November campaign when they line-up to face Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
Their woes reached a low during defeat to New Zealand, when four players were sent to the sin-bin. Against the Wallabies they were also punished, by the boot of fly-half Matt Giteau.
"We are more comfortable as a team now. We have worked very, very hard as a team on our discipline," he said. "We are not going to win games by giving penalties away. Matt Giteau kicked seven penalties last year and we had a 14-point loss."
The breakdown was a key area of concern for Johnson's coaching staff and their preparations will have to be spot on after veteran openside George Smith was recalled to the Australian starting XV. Smith has vowed to halt the supply of ball to England's fly-half Jonny Wilkinson.
"George Smith has got 106 caps so they obviously have a very experienced player there and we've got to try to stop him doing what he does," said Johnson. "It's about being competitive without going over the limit that's acceptable. It's about getting the balance.
"Our players have got to be competitive at the breakdown area and all over the field without getting on the wrong side of the ref. We know we have to be smarter in terms of yellow cards and that's why we have used Wayne Barnes for every training session. He has been working on areas we consider to be 'hot' and where we need to improve.
"I have already spoken with Saturday's ref Bryce Lawrence and we discussed various areas where I sought some clarification."
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