Tue 26 Oct 2021 | 03:54

England's 'massive asset' for November Tests

England's 'massive asset' for November Tests
Tue 26 Oct 2021 | 03:54
England's 'massive asset' for November Tests
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SPOTLIGHT: England captain Owen Farrell is looking forward to developing the playmaking talent of rising star Marcus Smith during next month’s internationals.

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The pair have yet to play an England match together after the 22-year-old Smith made his Red Rose debut in July before joining Farrell in the British and Irish Lions squad in South Africa.

But that could change during England’s trio of Twickenham Tests against Tonga, Australia and South Africa in November.

Flyhalf Smith, who steered Harlequins to the Premiership title last season, will be looking to retain the England No.10 jersey he has worn for two internationals, with Farrell alongside him at inside centre.

England coach Eddie Jones ditched experienced flyhalf George Ford from his squad as he looks to refresh the team ahead of the 2023 World Cup in France and instead opted for Smith, who has been in fine form for Quins so far this season.

“Marcus is a massive talent and a very exciting player,” said Farrell via video-link from England’s training base in Jersey on Tuesday.

“He’s someone who can unlock a game himself but he’s also got a brilliant eye for how to make a team work as well.

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“You want to make sure he keeps that sort of balance and he’s got the attitude to do that – hopefully for a long time.

“Marcus is someone who loves talking rugby. He loves chatting about the game and trying to understand the game a bit better. If I can help him do that in any way possible, I’d love to.

“We have worked together before and he has been in camps before when he was a bit younger.

“I shared a room with him in the past and it was good to get to know him a bit better over the summer with the Lions.”

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Farrell, a veteran of 99 England Tests, added: “It’s his passion for the game that you can see oozes out of him.

“You can see even when he scored at the weekend [for Harlequins] he loves scoring, he loves doing well for his team and he is really enjoying playing at the minute.

“That is a massive asset to have, the immense passion he has got for the game.

“He is not just a very talented player but a proper student of the game. That sounds a bit cliched but I mean he is really bothered about getting better, he is really bothered about understanding the game more.”

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