- Wing believes England "did their country proud" by beating France in Saint-Denis
- "Supporters can really see an appetite to go out there and perform" – Strettle
Recalled to Stuart Lancaster’s starting XV after recovering from a bruised sternum, David Strettle is relishing the prospect of facing Ireland tomorrow and Twickenham and is primed for a taxing encounter against one of the “top teams” in the RBS 6 Nations.
The wing was ruled out of England’s plans just a day prior to their magnificent 24-22 win in Saint-Denis Sunday, being replaced by Gloucester Rugby flyer Charlie Sharples.
However, despite the disappointment of missing out on a thrilling three-try victory over France, the 28 year-old was eager to return to a side that is rapidly growing in confidence.
“I am a lot better than I was,” Strettle explained. “Obviously, I was massively frustrated to miss out on the France game because it was a great occasion. I felt very proud of the lads and they did their country proud, too.
“My injury just wasn’t good enough after the fitness test. It’s a big call to make but you don’t want to let anyone down.
“The lads played so well in France and there will be confidence from that. When you score tries, you want to express yourself on the pitch even more so I’m really looking forward to this weekend.”
Strettle was watching from the stands as scores from Manu Tuilagi, Ben Foden and Tom Croft vanquished Les Bleus. He was understandably encouraged and now believes that the stage is set for a free-flowing Saint Patrick’s Day showdown that should feature a feast of exciting rugby.
Photo: Getty Images
“We’ve played more expansively as the weeks have gone on but the great sides are the ones who leave the least chances on the pitch,” said the Saracens man. “It’s important to be clinical if we want to get better.
“Ireland are one of the top teams and this is going to be just as physical a challenge as Wales was. They have a strong power game and when you factor in the skill of their backline, it becomes a very tough test. This should be a great game.
Ahead of what is set to be the final match of Lancaster’s interim tenure, Strettle praised the “approachable” manner that the former Saxons head coach has exuded, before turning to the swell of support that England have drummed up over the past two months.
“Stuart has been great and has created an environment that players really want to learn skills in,” he said.
“As an England fan myself, I know that people will be disappointed with how we did in the World Cup and the nation wanted a team they could get behind.
“Even if the results weren’t going our way, the fans want to see us really trying to play. Now, people can really see an appetite to go out there and perform.”