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Rucks no longer about penalties

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Sam Underhill: Rucks no longer about winning penalties

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Sam Underhill has urged England to adapt quickly to the refereeing of the breakdown when they clash with Argentina on Saturday.

Victory in the pivotal World Cup clash at Tokyo Stadium would secure a place in the quarter-finals but the Pumas are dangerous opponents capable of causing an upset.

The breakdown has been one of several officiating flashpoints in Japan and Underhill insists England must adjust swiftly to referee Nigel Owens’ approach to the key battleground.

“I don’t envy the referees. It’s a physical contest and more important than ever is your timing around it,” Underhill said.

“It can be a fairly confusing place, but with that it’s your responsibility as a team to ensure you’re getting quick ball.

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“I don’t know if it’s more confusing, but certainly every referee has their interpretation of the breakdown. As a player, all we can ask for is consistency.

“It’s down to getting to grips with that interpretation during the game – you don’t have an awful lot of time to do that – and adjust accordingly.

“Being adaptable and pragmatic are important – you need to react depending on how the game is going and how the referee is seeing things.”

Known as a hard tackler who won plaudits for completing 20 tackles on his England test debut, Underhill is equally adept working on the deck.

“It’s such a crucial part of the game because now we are seeing the outcomes of the breakdown, not so much in terms of penalties but definitely speed of ball.

“You might not get a penalty but the speed of ball is certainly affected by it, so that’s the biggest difference now for teams – not just focusing on retaining the ball, but the quality of the ball as well.”

Bet 365 kindly invited RugbyPass along to interview Matt Giteau and Mike Tindall to speak about their countries chances at the Rugby World Cup.

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Sam Underhill: Rucks no longer about winning penalties