Slade says focus on discipline won't blunt England's 'edge' against France

·2-min read
On the attack - England centre Henry Slade

Henry Slade said on Friday he still expects England to play "on the edge" against France in the Six Nations this weekend despite a renewed focus on their discipline.

The champions' hopes of a successful title defence were all but ended by a 40-24 loss away to Wales -- their second defeat in three games after being beaten by Scotland was followed by a comfortable win over Italy.

There was controversy over Wales's first two tries but England recovered to draw level at 24-24 heading into the closing stages in Cardiff.

However, Eddie Jones' men, who have struggled with longstanding disciplinary problems, conceded several penalties in quick succession as Grand Slam-chasing Wales pulled clear.

Title contenders France, recovered from a Covid-19 outbreak within their camp, will arrive at Twickenham on Saturday to face an England side who have been working with referees Matt Carley and Wayne Barnes in a bid to reduce their penalty count.

"We've placed some individual responsibility on discipline," centre Slade said.

"But we have to couple that with our intent to attack the game. We've still got to be on the edge -- you can't just go into your shells and play soft.

"You still have to be going for it and pushing the limits all the time, but just with the understanding that discipline is so key. Hopefully, we'll get on the right side of that."

Although England were well beaten at the finish by Wales, Jones's side played some of their best attacking rugby of the tournament and they could finish the championship on a high with wins against France and Ireland.

"We've been frustrated with this tournament because we've actually been improving and playing some good stuff," said Slade, a midfielder with English and European champions Exeter Chiefs.

England failed to score a try in their 11-6 loss to Scotland and rarely looked like crossing the opposition line.

"The performance against Scotland was nowhere near where we want to be," Slade said.

"Sometimes our first option was to kick rather than to run and we've definitely shifted in the right direction in terms of having a more balanced game and wanting to take people on and run."

He added: "We just shot ourselves in the foot in that last 20 against Wales with our indiscipline. If we can sort that out we're on to something good."