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England v Ireland: Hartley urges team to prove they're still dangerous

 

By Duncan Bech

Dylan Hartley has called on England to show they remain a force on the global stage despite successive defeats to Scotland and France.

Ireland visit Twickenham today knowing they are one victory away from securing the third Grand Slam in their history a week after deposing Eddie Jones' men as Six Nations champions.

The embarrassment of a fifth-place finish is the fate that awaits England if they endure a third loss and results elsewhere conspire against them, thereby registering their worst ever performance in the tournament since the expansion to six teams.

Yet should they mute the St Patrick's Day celebrations, they will replace Ireland in second place of the global rankings.

Hartley, restored as captain and hooker after missing the 22-16 defeat in Paris with a tight calf, refuses to view the slump as a terminal decline but concedes that supporters deserve a rousing finish.

"We are still a good team," the Northampton front row said. "Two losses don't mean we are not a good team. It's all part of our journey and to end the tournament on a good result for us will be reward for a lot of work that has gone into this campaign.

"The guys owe it to themselves, but also to our crowd and our support. We're excited and we want to finish the tournament on a good result.

"We've obviously had a bit of learning over the last few weeks but we are hungry, we are hungry to go out and perform, we're hungry to get a result.

"It's all growth for the team, every setback, every disappointment. We are pumped, we are hungry, we'll certainly go out there and play."

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