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New approach pays off for Robshaw

England captain Chris Robshaw has adjusted his approach to addressing referees in response to last season's Grand Slam rout by Wales.

It has been suggested, most recently by hooker Tom Youngs, that the team were too vocal with Steve Walsh during the 30-3 defeat at the Millennium Stadium in March, potentially antagonising the official.

England found themselves on the right side of officialdom at Twickenham on Saturday, however, as they defeated Australia 20-13.

Instead, it was the Wallabies who were accused of talking to referee George Clancy too frequently.

"If you think back to the Wales game we weren't on the front foot and were chasing it, maybe looking for angles that weren't there," Robshaw said.

"Yes, I think so (my tone was different this time). It's probably a couple of things rather than a lot of things.

"Maybe identifying a couple of key things in the game rather than trying to work every possible angle.

"It's always a bit easier when you're on the front foot - a lot of captains would say that.

"If you're being rewarded it's a little bit easier because you're not fighting a losing battle.

"We had a little bit of ascendency at the scrum against Australia which allowed us to speak to the ref a bit more.

"We were trying to play as well and trying to create quick ball. All these little things added up."

Youngs, speaking in the build-up to the opening QBE International against Australia, admitted the experience of Cardiff taught England a key lesson.

"We were probably a little bit too in the ref's ear. Maybe we should have been quieter," Youngs said.

"More like Wales, who were very quiet and let the ref ref. We were probably a bit too much on his case at times. It was a massive learning experience."

Robshaw, who will be making his 19 Test appearance when he leads England in Saturday's QBE International against Argentina, admits it can be hard to strike the right balance when addressing referees.

"It's difficult to not keep chatting, especially if you are on the wrong side of it," Robshaw said.

"Referees come into the changing-room before the game and speak to the forwards and scrum-halves about what they want and what they're expecting. They say 'we'll only talk to the captain'.

"Of course, if it's a scrum issue, they might speak to one of the props or the hooker, but they just want to hear one voice, they don't want to hear a lot of people chirping at them."

England are seeking their ninth victory in 10 matches on Saturday and start as heavy favourites against an Argentina team that is

overseen by a new coach in Daniel Hourcade and missing injured stars Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe and Juan Martin Hernandez.

Grizzled veterans Marcos Ayerza, Patricio Albacete and Juan Manuel Leguizamon are present in a starting XV containing 417 caps, 204 more than their opponents fielded against Australia.

But even allowing for the trademark forward assault from the Pumas, England are expected to win and set up a mouth-watering climax to the autumn against New Zealand.

"The guys are intense and purposeful. They know what they have to do to hopefully get a result at the weekend," Robshaw said.

"It's about everyone doing their individual jobs, it's not about doing anything too flash.

"We've got the cobwebs out of our system now and managed to get the win while doing that encourages great belief among the guys. Everyone bought in to what we were about."


From Belfast Telegraph