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."



  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...