Marcus Smith emphatically puts England No10 debate to bed for good

By Rugby Onslaught

  • European Champion Cup
  • internationals

George Ford is playing brilliantly at the moment; The injured Owen Farrell has always been one of Eddie Jones’ favorites for England, but when Marcus Smith isn’t in the starting XI for his country in the opening game of the Six Nations, something is wrong with the world.

The Harlequins’ 22-year-old aviator was in the best position to start there after his fall in white and recent form, but his performance against Cardiff on Friday in the Heineken Champions Cup ended that debate entirely. He literally produced everything you could hope for from a fly-half: set up attempts with hands, set up attempts with feet, attempts at shooting himself and of course, taking a penalty in the last minute to ensure victory for his team.

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

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

He showed off his feet and strength to make his own attempt:

But perhaps most importantly for Jones, he showed his nerve to give Quins victory in the final game of the game in much the same way he delivered England’s victory over the Springboks in the autumn:

It seems pretty definite that he will not only start for England in this Six Nations, but from now on until the World Cup. The string of appearances he’s made over the past month means it’s a no-brainer. He controlled play in hot conditions against the Exeter Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership last week, meaning he effectively showed his full bag of tricks just before the England squad was announced. The question is what does Jones do with Farrell (once he’s fit)?

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