The Irish were on the back foot just 14 minutes into the 2021 championship following Peter O’Mahony’s damaging dismissal in the 21-16 defeat to eventual winners Wales in Cardiff.
Title aspirations evaporated with a narrow 15-13 loss to France a week later but Andy Farrell’s in-form side have not been beaten since.
Ireland once again begin the tournament against the Welsh and Easterby says it is critical players remain in control and within the law.
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“Yeah, it’s crucial,” he said, ahead of Saturday’s sold-out clash at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
“I think every team would see discipline as being right at the top of the agenda in terms of getting it right yourselves, forcing opposition to give you field position or chances to kick points through their indiscipline, so it’s certainly at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
“We have to work with the officials, players have a responsibility to do things in a legal manner; the game is tough enough these days without guys having to do things outside of normal.
“Those mistakes and those unfortunate times when a player gets his tackle entry wrong, or clean out entry wrong, or there’s a challenge in the air, players and coaches try as much as we can to educate and try to mitigate and try to reduce the amount of chances of those things coming back to bite you.
“It’s certainly at the forefront of everyone’s mind.”
O’Mahony became the first Ireland player to be sent off in a Six Nations match following a reckless shoulder-led hit to the head of Wales prop Tomas Francis.
Despite going ahead at the Principality Stadium, the Irish – who have won their last eight games – were unable to hold on for famous triumph over adversity.
Easterby acknowledges physical collisions are unavoidable in rugby but believes “good habits” can help limit severe punishments.
“It’s about being really accurate,” he said. “Good habits that you perform in training, making sure that we work hard on our techniques, at the ruck in particular, at the kick chase.
“There are always going to be clashes in rugby, it’s a contact sport and there are guys moving left and right and forward and there are going to be times when a player gets caught out.
“Those things are unavoidable but the more we can work hard in training to mitigate those opportunities to go against us then the better we’ll be when it comes to getting on the right side of the door with the referee.”
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