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England have reached the halfway mark on their road to Japan, having won one and lost one of their two Rugby World Cup warm-ups against Wales in very different circumstances.
The opening 33-19 victory over the Welsh came in a try-fest that saw both sides blow off the cobwebs – one side more quickly than the other – before the following weekend’s more predictable 13-6 defeat that felt more like a natural test between these two physical sides.
Eddie Jones is one of few head coaches who has already named his final squad for the plane to Japan, announcing his 31 lucky players the day after the Twickenham victory, with only France, Fiji and Argentina following suit.
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Has the Australian gone too early? Or has there been enough in the two performances so far for England fans to be optimistic that there will be no repeat of the 2011 and 2015 nightmares when the tournament gets underway next month?
Here’s what we’ve learned from England’s two Rugby World Cup warm-ups so far.
Discipline remains an issue
England conceded eight penalties at Twickenham that will be a few too many for Eddie Jones’ liking, but more concerning will be that as the pressure ramped up in Cardiff, so did that tally to 12. That essentially cost the England a shot at victory, and the talk among the players immediately after was that their ill-discipline had let them down – and not for the first time.
The problem is that this issue only rears its head when England are up against it – and therefore when it matters most – so while it may see
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