March 14 (Reuters) - England back rower Sam Simmonds believes a chance to avenge last year’s Six Nations defeat at Ireland was the perfect incentive for the outgoing champions to end their poor campaign on a positive note.
England’s hopes of a second consecutive grand slam were thwarted on the last day by Ireland and Eddie Jones’ side, who have suffered back-to-back defeats by Scotland and France, will be desperate for a consolation win at Twickenham on Saturday.
“Looking back on last year and losing in Ireland, that will be an incentive to push on this weekend,” Exeter number eight Simmonds told British media of the 13-9 loss in Dublin.
“There are boys here who are experienced and have played good Ireland teams in the past... if we perform well we know results do come from that. Hopefully we put on a good performance for the Twickenham crowd.”
England captain Dylan Hartley is expected to return for the clash after recovering from a tight calf but winger Elliot Daly remains a doubt due to a foot injury.
With their hopes of an unprecedented hat-trick of titles dashed, England will look to avoid a third defeat of the championship that could leave them reflecting on their worst Six Nations performance since 2006.
“We are not happy with performances and results of the last couple of weeks, but it’s a huge game against Ireland and we are all pushing in the right direction,” Simmonds said. (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)