Gustard to England: ‘Stay focused’

Date published: February 10 2016

England assistant coach Paul Gustard needs no reminding that any complacency will be punished in Italy.

Heading to Rome after winning against Scotland at Murrayfield last weekend, England will be looking to back up their Round 1 victory against an Azzurri side who surprised many with their performance against France last weekend.

Italy's squad on paper appears short on caps but the energy they showed in Paris suggested this group of players have the ability to cause an upset. 

Therefore, Gustard doesn't want England heading to the Stadio Olimpico expecting an easy ride.

"Unfortunately I was involved in an England 'A' team that lost… the very first England team at any level to lose to Italy," Gustard said.

"So it does happen. If you focus on too many other things or you look too far ahead or you look towards Ireland or Wales and so on and start dreaming of other things, you'll trip up fast.

"They've got a lot of good players, playing in competitive leagues as well, and they ran a good French team close at the weekend.

"You take one eye off the path, you've got one eye on the goal, you trip up somewhere on the floor," Gustard added.

"We just try to keep two eyes focused on the task ahead. It's a big task.

"Back-to-back away games, to go across to Rome this weekend, against a team that will be buoyed with confidence in their own performance, travelling to France.

"It'll be tough for us this weekend. Stay focused."