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England compliment referee Brace despite the 18-8 penalty count

By Liam Heagney

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Eddie Jones sidestepped the temptation to have a pop at last Saturday’s referee Andy Brace for the lopsided 18-8 penalty count against his team, the England boss instead claiming his players need to be better in one particular aspect of their game. 

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So much were the English under the pump during the second half at Twickenham that the penalty count read 17-4 when Will Stuart was yellow carded on 67 minutes with the South Africans very much in the ascendancy. 

There was one further concession, Maro Itoje accounting for the 14th penalty given away by an England forward in the match and it allowed the Springboks to ‘win’ the yellow card period 8-0 and jump 26-24 ahead. 

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Having been affected by penalty trouble during their derisory fifth-place finish to the 2021 Six Nations last March, it seemed set that England were about to get beaten once more. 

However, they resiliently turned the tide and it was the South Africans who tellingly suffered the game-deciding indiscipline in the eyes of Brace, coughing up a yellow card and four penalties in the closing minutes of a match where Marcus Smith’s 80th-minute penalty kick for England proved decisive.  

“I never thought we were on the wrong line, we had a bad Six Nations,” insisted Jones in the aftermath. “That is well documented but I never thought we were on the wrong line. But it is good to get those victories. We have beaten third and first in the world now (Australia and South Africa). 

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“We have gone down this line of being much more aggressive in the way we want to attack. We think the game suits it at the moment, although it was a difficult game with the referee being so hard on sealing at the breakdown – which I am not complaining about at all. That is the way the referee should be and you have got to be so skilful with your breakdown work now and we have still got a bit of work to do in that area.”

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England compliment referee Brace despite the 18-8 penalty count

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