Lewis Ludlam has full belief that England can still win this year’s Guinness Six Nations, ahead of their crunch clash with Ireland on Sunday.
Ludlam started in England’s narrow 13-6 win at BT Murrayfield against Scotland in Round 2 but after an opening defeat to France, Eddie Jones’ side face an uphill battle to clinch their first Championship title since 2017.
Ireland and France currently lead the way with two wins from two but back-rower Ludlam is clear on what his side are capable of as they gear up to welcome Ireland to Twickenham on Sunday.
He said: “We back ourselves (to win this year’s title). We always back ourselves, otherwise we wouldn’t be out there. We have full belief in the team. It would be a hard thing to do but we’re aware of the ability we have in the team.
“As a team and as players we are always looking at hunting other teams down and scraping out wins and that has always been my mindset.
“We want to impose ourselves on other teams and we will try and do that as much as possible.”
In their first game of the Championship England came unstuck at the Stade de France, losing 24-17 to a France side who have since beaten Italy, but now face Wales at Principality Stadium on Saturday.
England will be without prop Mako Vunipola for their clash with Ireland due to family reasons and Jones has drafted in Bath’s Beno Obano as cover.
In 2018, Ireland completed the Grand Slam with a 24-15 victory at Twickenham – their first victory at the ground in seven years – but 24-year old Ludlam is looking forward to feeding off the fans’ energy.
He said: “I get revved up as soon as I know the team. After it’s announced I’m buzzing and ready.
“I’m thinking about situations and being involved in the game. But the moment I get really pumped up is during the anthems.
“That’s when my emotions are really high. The hairs stand up on the back of my neck and that’s when you really know you’re in it. That’s when it gets surreal.”
The Northampton Saints flanker has also spoken out in support of England team-mate Tom Curry, who has deputised at No.8 for the opening two games thanks to Billy Vunipola’s absence through injury.
There is not a recognised No.8 in the England squad but Ludlam insists Curry has stuck his hand up as a long-term option in the position.
He said: “Tom was awesome in Edinburgh [against Scotland. It just goes to show what a great player he is. He received a lot of criticism for the France game but has worked really hard to get things right.
“To put out that performance at the weekend is testament to him, so I’m really happy for him. He’s hungry to learn.”