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England star Maro Itoje being ‘over-refereed’ argues Eddie Jones after penalties conceded in Wales defeat

Will Macpherson
·1-min read
<p>Maro Itoje conceded five of England’s 14 penalties against Wales in Cardiff</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

Maro Itoje conceded five of England’s 14 penalties against Wales in Cardiff

(AFP via Getty Images)

After Maro Itoje gave away five penalties in England’s 40-24 defeat to Wales, Eddie Jones argued that “referees tend to over-referee” the lock because of his quality and style of play.

Itoje was the main offender in an ill-disciplined England display in Cardiff on Saturday evening, giving away five of their 14 penalties.

Referee Pascal Gauzere was particularly stringent on England’s talisman early, and he was pinged four times in the first half an hour.

Jones compared Itoje to George Smith, the great Australian flanker who he coached with the Wallabies in the early 2000s.

“He is one of the best players in the world and he plays the game on the edge,” Jones said of Itoje.

“I can remember the same sort of discussion being had about George Smith at one stage. Sometimes the referees tend to over-referee a player like him.

“At the same time, there are areas of the game he needs to tidy up and he knows that. He’s a good boy. A good player. There are just a few things in his game he needs to tidy up.”

Jones said England would have to work harder on rolling away in the tackle if their discipline is to improve against France in a fortnight.

“There are some individual issues, which will be dealt with on individual basis,” he said. “On a team basis, the biggest thing was the roll away in the tackle. We will just have to do more additional work in that area.”

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