Marcus Smith demands that a beleaguered England stand up and fight

Marcus Smith insists England are ready to climb off the canvas for their shot-to-nil in Dublin as they look to avoid another Guinness Six Nations mismatch.

Smith views Saturday’s clash with grand slam-chasing Ireland at Aviva Stadium as a “free swing” on the grounds that no one is giving England even a chance to ruin St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Having lost a record-breaking 53-10 defeat to France at Twickenham in the fourth round, they were installed 7-1 at world No. 1 in their last competitive match before the World Cup.

Failure could mean they finish with just two wins in the Six Nations for the third time in a row, but Smith insists his team will come out to fight.

“We’re going through a rough patch at the moment and it’s perfect for us,” said the Harlequins half.

“We have to improve quickly because the challenge doesn’t come much bigger than Ireland 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 talked about holding on to each other because there’s going to be a lot of noise and a lot of pressure on us. We’ve got to get tighter compared to splitting up.

There is only one way to go now and that is to stand up and fight as hard as we can and play as hard as we can to get the jersey

Marcus Smith

“This is a great test of our co-operation as a team and our determination. There is no better week for this than free swinging in Ireland.

“Time is against us, but I think we still have time. With the characters we have on set, we can turn things around very quickly.

“We have a week now to right some mistakes and we need to get to the same page quickly.”

France collected seven tries as they attacked at Twickenham, inflicting the biggest defeat on England in the tournament since its foundation in 1882.

“We didn’t build a week to lose like that,” said Smith, whose fly-half return soon turned into a nightmare as England wrecked in the touch zone.

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

“We will work as hard as we can this week to be better, but it is a good indication of where we are on this journey.”

Ollie Lawrence was ruled out of the Six Nations with a hamstring injury, and Manu Tuilagi was put in the frame to fill the vacancy at inside center.

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