England coach Eddie Jones wants consistent refereeing

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England head coach Eddie Jones has called for consistency from referees during the looming NatWest 6 Nations.

Jones attended a meeting in London on Wednesday in which coaches were able to discuss with officials any issues ahead of the Championship, which begins next weekend.

The Australian’s areas of greatest concern are the refereeing of defending teams at the maul and scrum feeds.

Eddie Jones hopes to see a redress between defence and attack
Eddie Jones hopes to see a redress between defence and attack (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“No-one tries to give away a penalty and everyone plays the game on the edge. It’s what side of the edge you go.

“There has been a slacking off in terms of the maul defence, it has gone ridiculously in favour of the defenders rather than the attackers and there needs to be a balance redress.

“We also need parity in the scrum feed. The law says that you have got to put the ball in reasonably straight and you have got to strike for it.

“The referees have got to make sure they referee that because if they don’t you give the attacking team too much of an advantage.

“Our game is based on getting a reasonable contest between attack and defence but referees don’t like to penalise that because they get criticised by the smart guys in the television boxes and they don’t like that.

“So we have got to give them the confidence that that is the right thing for the game, to make the ball go in reasonably straight and the hooker to strike to get a reasonable contest in the scrum.

“It’s such an important part of game. You take the scrum out of our game and what do we have? Rugby league with line-outs. We need the scrum in the game.”

Billy Vunipola will miss the tournament after fracturing his arm
Billy Vunipola will miss the tournament after fracturing his arm (Adam Davy/PA)

By the time their title defence begins against Italy in Rome on Sunday week they could be missing as many as 18 players, but Jones insists Twickenham is better equipped to deal with the losses than any other team.

“Without a doubt the attrition rate is an advantage we have. We have got the most money, we have got the most players and we have got the most depth so we should win,” Jones said.

“The players don’t need telling that message. The players know their responsibility is to be at their best and if we are good enough we beat Italy and if we are good enough in the game after that we beat whoever that is (Wales).

“I don’t need to tell the players that we’ve got more money in the bank than any other union because it’s irrelevant for them.”

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