(Reuters) - England captain Owen Farrell has tweaked his tackling technique in training to avoid getting sent off during the Rugby World Cup, defence coach John Mitchell has said.
Farrell went unpunished following two incidents of “no-arms” tackles against South Africa and Australia last year, and the 27-year-old is mindful of the new disciplinary focus after World Rugby revised its directives on legitimate tackles.
“Owen is not overly focused on that area (tackling), but he has made some adjustments based on last autumn,” New Zealander Mitchell told British media.
“John Carrington, our strength and conditioning coach, is also my support on defence and he’s very good at working on tackle technique.
“There can be mitigating circumstances, but if your hands are in front of your shoulder, you’ve got a better chance of making a proper wrap tackle. If your shoulder is ahead of your hands, then the law doesn’t look after you very well.”
England’s World Cup-winning former coach Clive Woodward said Eddie Jones’s men must work on their discipline given they have shown a tendency to lose control under pressure.
“They’ve got this powerful team... an X-factor team but quite a few of the starting 15 have got a track record of losing it in a game under pressure,” Woodward, who led England to the World Cup win in 2003, told the BBC.
“There’s been a lot of focus on the rules regarding neck-high tackles. If you’re playing France and Argentina, top teams, and get a guy sent off then the chance of winning that game is going to be very difficult.
“You need every single player to play under pressure and play within the laws of the game.”
World champions New Zealand have already fallen foul of the new regime, with lock Scott Barrett given a red card for a high tackle in the recent test against Australia in Perth.
Reduced to 14 men at halftime, the All Blacks ended up conceding a team record number of points in the 47-26 loss to the Wallabies.
England begin their World Cup campaign against Tonga on Sept. 22 before games against the United States, Argentina and France.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Ransom