Marcus Smith emphatically puts England No10 debate to bed for good

By rugby attack

  • European Championship Cup
  • internationals

George Ford is playing superbly at the moment; the injured Owen Farrell has always been one of Eddie Jones’ favorites for England, but if Marcus Smith doesn’t start for his country in the opening game of the Six Nations, something is wrong with the world.

The 22-year-old Harlequins fly-half was in an excellent position to start there after his fall in white and his recent form, but his performance against Cardiff on Friday in the Heineken Champions Cup calmed that debate completely. He produced literally everything you could want from a fly-half: setting up tries with his hands, setting up tries with his feet, self-scoring attempts and of course a clutch penalty kick in the last minute to secure his side’s win.

There was this handy cross-field kick to another England hopeful Louis Lynagh to open the scoring:

There was another nice inside pass to Alex Dombrandt (another player to start for England) leading up to Luke Northmore’s try:

He showed his feet and his strength to make his own effort:

But, perhaps most importantly for Jones, he showed his guts to take the win for Quins in the final game of the game, almost in exactly the same way he delivered the Springboks win for England in the fall:

This seems pretty definite that he will not only start this Six Nations for England, but from now on right up to the World Cup. The string of gigs he’s put in over the past month means it’s a no-brainer. He checked the match in scorching conditions against Exeter Chiefs last week in the Gallagher Premiership, meaning he has effectively shown his full bag of tricks just before the England squad is announced. The question is what will Jones do with Farrell (if he is fit)?

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