Six Nations: Marcus Smith believes England is ready to ‘stand up and fight’ against Ireland

Dylan Coetzee
Marcus Smith England Six Nations Ireland France

England fly-half Marcus Smith insists his team is ready to pick themselves up and throw everything they have at Ireland following a record defeat to France last weekend.

On Saturday, it was a dark day at Twickenham as Les Bleus ran rampant to a 53-10 win over England – their biggest loss at the famous ground.

The defeat was a reality check for how far the team needs to develop under Steve Borthwick with the World Cup on the horizon. To make matters more challenging, the Red Rose face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium this weekend on Super Saturday.

“Free swing”

Smith admits facing the world’s best in their backyard will be a massive test of the team’s character and togetherness but is also an opportunity for a “free swing” at Ireland.

“We’re in a tough period at the minute, and it’s perfect for us,” Smith said.

“We’ve got to get better quickly because the challenge doesn’t come much greater than Ireland away in Dublin.

“There’s only one way to go now, and that’s to stand up and fight as hard as we can and play as hard as we can for the shirt.

“We’ve spoken about sticking together because there’s going to be a lot of noise and a lot of pressure on us. We’ve got to become tighter as opposed to splinter.

“This is a big test of our togetherness as a squad and of our resolve. There’s no better week for this than a free swing at Ireland.

“Time is against us, but I believe we’ve still got time. With the characters we’ve got in the group we can turn things around very quickly.

“We’ve got a week now to right some wrongs and we’ve got to get on the same page quickly.”

An indicator

It was a masterclass of attacking rugby from France, and England had no answers, particularly in the contact area. Smith claims their performance was not good enough but offers a gauge of where the team is.

“We didn’t build up in the week to lose like that,” said Smith.

“We’ll look at our individual performances and team performance because, with where we want to go in the next six months and in the years ahead, that wasn’t good enough.

“We’ll work as hard as we can this week to be better, but it’s a good indicator of where we are on this journey.”

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