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Matt Dawson blames lack of leadership for England’s poor discipline


Matt Dawson has said it is down to the England players themselves to sort out their current discipline problems.

England conceded 14 penalties at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, compared to Wales’ nine, which proved to be extremely costly as the Welsh ran out 16-point winners.

Former England captain Dawson was writing in his column for the BBC about the team’s poor discipline and urged English teammates to be harder on one another when they give away silly penalties.

“England have conceded 41 penalties in total across their first three games in the tournament. There are no excuses for it. The only solution is for the players to sort it out themselves,” Dawson wrote.

“I do not see the leadership on the pitch to deal with the adversity. For all the record-breaking experience that this England team have, in a weird kind of way they do not actually have the right type of leadership to win rugby games.

“I want to see a player going up to another England player, in his face, telling him to stop giving penalties away. Screaming at the forwards when they get into a decent area so that they do not concede any penalties.”


‘Plenty of people I played with didn’t like me’

Dawson argued that members of the England squad are too friendly with one another, with their support for one another abundantly clear through the frequent cheering and back -slapping.

The England squad weren’t half as cordial with one another back in Dawson’s time, with the former British and Irish Lions scrum-half explaining that players have to be comfortable with getting on each other’s nerves.

“I hear the England players and it is all cajoling and tapping people on the bum telling them it is OK when they have just given away their 13th penalty,” Dawson commented.

“Then you look at Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones when something does not go right – he has this steely look about him.

“I was co-commentating with Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell and he called it the ‘Alun Wyn stare’. Everybody knows if you make a mistake and he gives you one of those looks, you are never going to do it again.

“That does not exist within this England team. They are all best mates and loving every minute of being part of the England camp, but there is no friction.


“Plenty of people I played with for England did not like me because I could be obnoxious on the pitch.

“But I would like to think that when I said something that was a bit forthright, those players might have got it and it made a difference. Sometimes you need those prickly characters.”

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