Marcus Smith urges besieged England to ‘stand up and fight’
Marcus Smith insists England are ready to climb off the canvas for their shot at nothing in Dublin to avoid another Guinness Six Nations mismatch.
Smith views Saturday’s showdown with Grand Slam victory over Ireland at the Aviva Stadium as a “free swing” as nobody gives England a chance to ruin St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
After a record-breaking 10-53 loss to France at Twickenham in round four, they were used as underdogs 7-1 to surpass the world no.
Failure would see them finish with just two wins for a third straight Six Nations, but Smith insists his team will struggle.
“We’re in a rough patch right now and it’s perfect for us,” said the Harlequins’ fly-half.
“We need to get better fast because the challenge is little bigger than Ireland’s away in Dublin.
“There is only one way now to get up and fight as hard as you can and play as hard as you can for the jersey.
“We’ve talked about sticking together because there’s going to be a lot of noise and a lot of pressure on us. We need to get closer instead of splintering.
“It’s a big test of our cohesion as a team and our determination. There’s no better week for that than a free round in Ireland.
“Time is against us, but I think we still have time. With the characters we have in the party we can change things up very quickly.
“We now have a week to correct some mistakes and we need to get on the same page quickly.”
France rallied seven tries as they rampaged through Twickenham, inflicting England’s heaviest defeat in the tournament since its inception in 1882.
“We didn’t prepare to lose like that all week,” said Smith, whose half-time return quickly became a nightmare as England were pulverized in contact.
“We will look at our individual performances and the team performance because that was not good enough for where we want to be in the next six months and in the years to come.
“We’ll be working as hard as we can this week to get better, but it’s a good indicator of where we are on this journey.”
Ollie Lawrence was ruled out of the Six Nations climax with a hamstring injury, which put Manu Tuilagi in the frame to fill the vacancy at inside center.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/england-marcus-smith-ireland-france-six-nations-b2300131.html Marcus Smith urges besieged England to ‘stand up and fight’