Steve Borthwick hopeful of Marcus Smith's return ahead of game against Ireland

Borthwick hopes his fly-half - as well as scrum-half Alex Mitchell - will be available for the end of the Six Nations
©RFU Collection via Getty Images

England head coach Steve Borthwick is hoping for Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith to be available for the fourth round of the Six Nations against Ireland.

Smith already missed the first three rounds of the competition due to a calf injury that he sustained in the pre-tournament training camp.

In the absence of Smith, Borthwick has opted to select George Ford at fly-half with Northampton's Fin Smith providing cover on the bench.

"I am very hopeful that Marcus will be available for selection for this latter part of the tournament," Borthwick said.

Meanwhile, Alex Mitchell, who missed the game against Scotland due to a knee injury, is also on course for a comeback according to Borthwick.

"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 their defeat against Scotland, England have slipped to third position in the table with eight points. Next, they face a Grand Slam chasing Ireland side on 9th March at Twickenham.