Farrell - Discipline is key
Andy Farrell reinforced the need for England to avoid tip tackles after Bradley Davies and Stephen Ferris were cited for foul play incidents over the weekend.
Both players were sin-binned in Wales' dramatic RBS 6 Nations victory over Ireland, although Davies was fortunate not to be sent off for his off-the-ball clash with Donnacha Ryan. Ferris' tackle on Ian Evans, which handed Wales the match-winning penalty, was deemed by many to be less severe, but the Ireland flanker has been cited nonetheless.
The minimum entry-level suspension for any player found guilty of an illegal tip tackle is three weeks, rising to at least 10 for the most serious cases. The maximum is one-year ban.
As England began their build-up to Saturday's showdown with Italy in Rome, Farrell hammered home the need for his men to keep their discipline in defence.
"There is no point debating it. The rules are the rules," said Farrell, England's assistant coach. "If you take anybody over the horizontal, whether you put him down gently or hard into the floor, you are going to get penalised and a yellow card or a red card.
He added: "We need to be aware of the rules. Everybody is aware of the rules and watching that game it highlights it even more."
England defended with great heart and discipline in their 13-6 victory over Scotland, making a record number of tackles and conceding only nine penalties in the whole match.
That was a significant development for the new-look national coaching team given a lack of composure and discipline in defence repeatedly cost England during Martin Johnson's regime.
England did have their line broken by Scotland but they were let off the hook by the Scots' now habitual inability to score tries. Farrell was proud of the way his men scrambled, but he conceded the new defensive system needed to be tightened for the trip to Rome's Olympic Stadium.
"We defended like Trojans at times and we didn't let Scotland cross our line. We made 238 tackles, by our own statistics, and we had to defend for 27 minutes and 48 seconds," Farrell said. "That is more than I have ever known, that is more than the stats guys have ever known."