England must produce best demands Nick Easter
Stand-in captain Nick Easter warned England will have to produce their best ever performance if they are to win the Grand Slam against Ireland tomorrow.
Easter has taken over the leadership reins from Mike Tindall, who was ruled out of the Aviva Stadium showdown with ankle ligament damage suffered against Scotland.
The Harlequins number eight anticipates an easy job during the build-up, with England players motivated by the chance of a first RBS 6 Nations clean sweep since 2003.
But once the whistle blows, Easter expects an Ireland side angry from last week's controversial defeat against Wales to pose England their toughest test of the championship.
"To win in Dublin, with the occasion and what is at stake, you have to bring your best game. I don't think anyone wins anything tangible not doing that," Easter said.
"When the fixtures came out most people thought this would be the hardest game and I don't think we'll be disappointed.
"The Irish haven't delivered their best game in the Six Nations so far and I am sure that will come tomorrow. It should make for a good contest.
"Once Johnno decided to give me the honour of captain there was an enormous sense of pride but the focus is on making sure we deliver our best game tomorrow.
"We realise after last week's not-so-hot performance (in beating Scotland) that it was a good kick up the backside in order to make sure we do produce the goods tomorrow."
England wing Mark Cueto, who will win his 50th cap tomorrow, admitted earlier this week his international career would be incomplete if he failed to win any silverware.
Cueto and Easter both experienced the pain of defeat in the 2007 World Cup final and it would have been understandable if they began to doubt England would ever be in this position again.
"It has been a while. Last year we won the first two and then went off the rails," said Easter.
"It is only the Six Nations tournament and World Cup where you can win silverware. I (don't see this as my last opportunity to win a Six Nations) I see it as a first opportunity.
"We are in this position, we have to enjoy it but certainly we have to bring our top game.
"It is going to be a pretty easy game to captain in terms of the build-up because these guys will need no motivation to get up for the game. This is a bigger Test match than most.
"There are some guys there who I don't think ever get nervous, the younger ones sit in the changing room chomping Haribos and having a laugh.
"You have guys like Ben Youngs and Toby Flood who have played in big finals for Leicester and they have that experience to fall back on.
"It is an occasion to enjoy. We have worked hard to get here. We are 4-0 now and let's hope we can make it five."
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