Monday, May 20, 2024

England coach John Mitchell wants Red Roses playing on the edge, despite Women’s Six Nations red cards -Dlight News

John Mitchell has instructed his England team to continue playing on the edge despite the disciplinary issues that have marred their Women’s Six Nations campaign so far.

The Red Roses have been shown two red cards in three matches, with No 8 Sarah Beckett dismissed in the opener against Italy and hooker Amy Cokayne sent off against Scotland.

Both opponents were crushed despite England being reduced to 14 players and they will look to continue their march to a sixth successive Championship title when Ireland visit Twickenham on Saturday – the second standalone Red Roses Test at the venue.

While Mitchell wants technique to be refined where needed, he views his team’s physicality as an important weapon.

“I want us to continue to play on the edge, but I also want us to be aware around how we need to change our behaviour,” the Red Roses head coach said.

“In Amy’s incident, she needs to get her head under the ball. Obviously that’s something you put the ownership on the individual to change.

“We probably let the pressure off on Scotland. There were a number of times when we had the foot on their throats. We’d rather that turn into attack for us.

“There’s some good things we’ve learned from it, but we’re certainly not going to go away from being on the edge. It’s what drives us. It’s what the game’s all about and we want to turn defence into points.”

Cokayne
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Hooker Amy Cokayne was red carded last week vs Scotland after two yellows for dangerous tackles

Beckett received a three-match ban for a dangerous clearout, while Cokayne’s two yellow cards for a dangerous clearout and dangerous tackle resulted in a one-game suspension.

Both players will be available for the probable Grand Slam decider against France in Bordeaux on Saturday week.

England had rehearsed for the eventuality of losing their No 8 and hooker in the build-up to each game after defence coach Sarah Hunter had presented them as scenarios in training.

“We’ve told Sarah Hunter not to give us any more scenarios!” captain Marlie Packer joked.

“So she might have said at the beginning of the Six Nations ‘eight go off the pitch’. That might have happened.

Sarah Beckett
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No 8 Sarah Beckett was red carded in Round 1 vs Italy for a dangerous clearout

“And then last week ‘hooker you’ve got a card, go off’. And that might have happened in a game. So we’ve kind of told Sarah not to do that any more!”

Almost 50,000 are expected at Twickenham on Saturday and, in anticipation of the atmosphere, England have adapted training at their Surrey base.

“Early on in the week, when we do more low-key training in the barn inside, we can put crowd noise in. I personally loved it,” Mitchell said.

“It paints a different picture for us. It’s been a new thing that we’ve brought in this week which has raised our game. Hopefully we can put it out on the pitch on Saturday.”

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