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Keeping discipline is key for England against All Blacks in World Cup semi-final test

PUBLISHED: 17:30 24 October 2019

England's Billy Vunipola at the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup Quarter Final match at Oita Stadium, Oita, Japan.

England's Billy Vunipola at the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup Quarter Final match at Oita Stadium, Oita, Japan.

PA Wire/PA Images

England have addressed their indiscipline issues by punishing players who make mistakes worthing of conceding a penalty during training.

England's Owen Farrell celebrates at the final whistle after the 2019 Rugby World Cup Quarter Final 40-16 victory against Australia at Oita Stadium, Oita, Japan.England's Owen Farrell celebrates at the final whistle after the 2019 Rugby World Cup Quarter Final 40-16 victory against Australia at Oita Stadium, Oita, Japan.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs revealed coach Eddie Jones introduced the measure during the build-up to the World Cup in the hope of eradicating the type of error that has long been an Achilles heel.

Any players who commit offences such as straying offside are punished by being made to do a series of gruelling exercises.

England face New Zealand in Saturday's semi-final and Youngs, who will continue at scrum-half when the team is announced on Thursday, knows his team must be pinpoint in their accuracy to topple the world champions.

"We put a big emphasis on our discipline throughout pre-season and at the weekend it's going to be absolutely vital for that," he said.

"If boys did things in training they were sent to the corner of the pitch to get a bit of a flogging and stuff.

"The punishment would be a few down-ups, a few runs - it's normally the big boys who spent the time there and they would go with the (strength and conditioning) coach.

"It's something we haven't always been terrific at, but certainly in this tournament we've been very, very good.

"We've been pleased at how we've been able to make sure we've stayed disciplined.

"I didn't get a flogging, I was too disciplined so I never went there. It was just for things like offsides and everything like that."

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The most recent time the rivals clashed was at Twickenham last autumn when a controversial offside decision against Courtney Lawes meant Sam Underhill's late try, that would have clinched a famous victory, was disallowed.

"Everything gets checked now, just to make sure for confirmation, so you've got to be absolutely on it," Youngs added.

"Sam's try is a very good example where you are just a little bit off and you don't get the rewards. It's no different to how we've approached every game this tournament. You've got to make sure you are accurate and you are disciplined."

Forwards coach Steve Borthwick revealed England expect to have all 31 players available for selection on Thursday, following their 40-16 win over Australia last weekend.

Wings Jack Nowell and Jonny May have made good progress in their recovery from hamstring injuries and are on course to be included in the matchday 23.

Tom Curry and Underhill will continue in the back row after outclassing the famed combination of David Pocock and Michael Hooper in the quarter-final.

Curry, 21, is England's youngest player at the World Cup and was named man of the match following a colossal display of defensive ferocity and breakdown expertise.

Youngs believes the Sale flanker is destined for the very top, adding: "Tom's an unbelievably special player. He works incredibly hard. Nothing seems to faze him. He's in this bubble and he's just loving every moment.

"Things like that are infectious. And Underhill, although he looks a lot older isn't too old himself.

"Both those guys and the energy they bring - I'm just pleased and proud of them. As characters they're good boys. They get a little bit of heat, but they're top boys.

"Being an older member of the squad you see these young guys come in and you want them to be successful. Tom's been incredible like that and I'm sure he'll continue to grow and grow as a player. I'm sure he'll go on to be one of the greatest back-rowers England have ever had."

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