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Steve Borthwick issues 'hopeful' update on injured England fly-half Marcus Smith

By PA
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

England head coach Steve Borthwick hopes fly-half Marcus Smith could be fit to return to action in the Guinness Six Nations clash against Ireland at Twickenham.

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Harlequins star Smith has sat out all three of England’s games so far with a calf problem suffered on a pre-tournament training camp.

Borthwick also feels Northampton scrum-half Alex Mitchell could be back in action before the end of the Six Nations, having missed the defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield with a knee issue.

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“I am very hopeful that Marcus will be available for selection for this latter part of the tournament,” Borthwick said, quoted in several national newspapers.

“We have got positive news on Alex Mitchell’s injury, we are hopeful he will feature in the latter part of this tournament – whether that’s the next game, we are not sure, but we are hopeful he will be available as well.”

Following Saturday’s 30-21 Calcutta Cup loss in Edinburgh, the England squad are set to regroup in York for training.

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Borthwick is expecting a response as the squad prepare to head back to Twickenham in the build-up to the showdown with Grand Slam contenders Ireland on March 9.

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He said: “What’s going to be interesting to me and what I want when we debrief the players, is that after the first 20 minutes on Saturday – why did we go and play in a manner that was not the way we had played the first 20?

“What changed? What in the thought processes altered to try and do something different?

“I will only be able to understand that fully once we have talked to the players and listened to them about how it was on the grass.”

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