Stuart Lancaster has urged his England players to be disciplined when facing Italy
Stuart Lancaster has urged his England players to be disciplined when facing Italy at Twickenham on March 10.
Last Updated: 02/03/13 2:09pm
Lancaster criticised his players for their lack of composure when opposed by a feisty France in south west London last time out.
Fly-half Owen Farrell, rated 50-50 by Lancaster to play against the Azzurri, was lucky to escape a citing when appearing to elbow opposing Les Bleus scrum-half Morgan Parra in a tempestuous international.
Wing Chris Ashton was also condemned for igniting a late brawl after throwing the ball at Benjamin Fall, but it is Farrell's conduct that has been most heavily scrutinised.
"I've spoken to the group generally to make sure that we stay focused on the task in hand," Lancaster said.
"Upon review of the game, we definitely got involved in one or two incidents that we didn't need to.
"We spoke about that as a group. As an opposition coach and team you've got to do everything in your power to upset and try to niggle the opposition.
"You have to be able to deal with that, keep your focus and deal with the task in hand, letting your rugby do the talking.
"It's not a big issue, I don't think we have a big fundamental disciplinary issue at all.
"In the context of the game, we were challenged by a very, very good French side and were delighted to come out on top."
Lancaster names his team to face Italy on March 8 and will give Saracens playmaker Farrell every chance to prove his fitness.
If the pivot fails to recover fully, Leicester's Toby Flood will step in and other options considered on the bench including Freddie Burns of Gloucester.
The Kingsholm fly-half has been sidelined for six weeks with a knee problem but has been cleared for a return to Aviva Premiership action against Bath.
"From our point of view we need to look at Freddie's performance. We have other options on the bench who can cover 10," Lancaster added.