England attack coach Brian Smith says the team are still aggrieved at decisions made in the RBS 6 Nations defeat to Wales.
Referee Jonathan Kaplan sent Mike Tindall and Andy Goode to the sin bin and awarded 14 penalties against England, which helped Wales secure a 23-15 victory at the Millennium Stadium.
England’s discipline has been under the spotlight since Martin Johnson took charge and they have now been shown eight yellow cards in three Tests, which equates to a whole match down to 14 men.
After the Wales defeat Johnson claimed England were suffering from a “perception problem” among officials.
Smith said: “What we are really trying to say to the refs is: ’Please judge us the same way you judge other teams and do not come into the game with a preconceived idea’.
“We’re frustrated by those decisions. It was Mike Tindall’s first infringement and he gets a yellow. It was touch and go whether he had actually won the football.
“Goode had secured the ball, one of our players bumps into him, it looks like he is off his feet and he’s gone.”
Smith directed that message directly at Craig Joubert, the South African who will take charge of England’s RBS 6 Nations showdown with Ireland at Croke Park this coming Saturday.
And it was backed up by captain Steve Borthwick, who admitted to being left bemused at the raft of penalties England conceded in the opening quarter against Wales.
Borthwick said: “I asked the referee: ’What is going on here?’ He was seeing things I wasn’t seeing and we needed to find out the interpretation.
“What we hope is that Joubert referees both sides equally, with the same interpretations for 80 minutes. Then we have got a level to be accountable to.”
England felt both Cardiff sin-binnings were questionable and they were frustrated Lee Byrne escaped a yellow card for taking out Delon Armitage in the air.
Despite their frustrations over Kaplan’s performance, England accept their discipline must improve if they are to stand any chance of emerging from Croke Park with a victory this weekend.
Tindall’s sin-binning had followed a fierce warning from referee Kaplan that England’s next infringement would be punished after they had conceded five penalties in quick succession.
England plan to bring an RFU referee into training this week in the hope of sharpening their practice at the breakdown.
“We are mindful we have to be seen to be whiter than white,” said Smith.
“But we can’t just back off at the breakdown. If we don’t contest for the ball we could be blown away in the first half.
“We want the referee to make sure they keep Ireland honest in that area because we want to play rugby.”
The discipline issue first reared its head against Australia in November, when England gifted the Wallabies seven kickable penalties and fell to a 28-14 defeat.
Against the All Blacks, England conceded 18 penalties and had four players sin-binned, with two more following in the opening RBS 6 Nations game win over Italy.
“We don’t practice cynicism or anything like that,” added scrum coach Graham Rowntree.
“The players are not refusing to listen. We need to sit down with them and get them to do things technically better at the breakdown.”