Eddie Jones reveals Owen Farrell was under orders not to engage with referee against France

“There’s been a bit of perception that has come about with my game and how I play the game,” Itoje said. “If you give away five penalties then referees (will hear) outside noise that is going to say Maro Itoje gives away a lot of penalties. 

“Obviously I never want to lose my bite, I never want to lose my edge. I believe my mentality makes me the player I am. My attitude makes me the player I am. At the same time, I have to thread that needle more effectively.”

England still conceded 12 penalties overall against France to take their tally to 53 for the tournament. However, there was a distinct difference between the more bone-headed offences conceded against Wales with six of the penalties against France being awarded after the ball-carrier became isolated.

“When you start moving the ball at pace it puts more pressure on your support play and our support play just wasn’t good enough,” Jones said. “It’s not a discipline issue, it’s a playing issue.” 

Jones only real cause for complaint was Brace reversing his penalty decision against Ben Earl late in the game, apparently after conversing with France captain Charles Ollivon. “I know we want to get the ratings up in rugby but that’s ridiculous,” Jones said.

Overall, however, Jones was delighted with the performance as England matched a much-fancied French team for attacking intent. “That’s what we are aiming to do – to get that game where we can win it through our set piece, win it through our kicking, or we can win it through our ability to move the ball at pace,” Jones said.

“We’re trying to get that balance right at the moment, and this is a bit of a transition the team’s going through, but we’ve got to keep at it because we have a plan in place of where we want to be by the World Cup.”

England now head to Dublin on Saturday for their final round match against Ireland having laid down a marker for the rest of the year. “I think this could be a springboard for us as a team,” Billy Vunipola, the No 8, said.

“We talked about wanting to be the greatest team in the world and this will give us confidence; knowing that we can mix it with the best teams out there and beat them.”

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