Close sidebar

Keith Wood questions Owen Farrell’s ability to predict ‘outrageous’ Marcus Smith

Keith Wood Owen Farrell

Keith Wood has questioned whether England captain Owen Farrell will be able to adequately react to what Marcus Smith does at fly-half.

A number of eyebrows were raised when Farrell was named as England’s captain for the Six Nations, given that the Saracens skipper hasn’t played since November having picked up an ankle injury in his country’s win against Australia.

The 30-year-old is expected to line out for Saracens before the end of the month, however, and England head coach Eddie Jones has explained that he believes Smith will benefit greatly from having Farrell outside him at 12.

Former Ireland captain Wood was speaking on Off The Ball and questioned whether Farrell, who is quite a structured player, is capable of playing alongside the unpredictable Smith.

England rugby

Keith Wood on Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith.

“They’re picking [Farrell] as a centre. Marcus Smith is the most outrageous natural player. So he can have stability outside him but Farrell has to be able to read what Marcus Smith is doing,” Wood commented.

“Because he could go off and do anything. One of the joys of watching Quins at the moment is that every guy is ready, always, for whatever the hell is going to happen.

“There’s very little structure. So would you put that phrase along with Farrell? I don’t know that you would.”

The England duo have had precious little time together.

Although Jones appears to have full faith in Farrell and Smith’s ability to work together, the pair have only played together for England on one occasion.

That dual appearance came in England’s 32-15 win against Australia in the Autumn Nations Series, and the pair did combine to get the better of the Wallabies before Farrell came off in the 68th minute with an ankle injury.

Smith showed the following week that he was well able to perform at international level without Farrell, as he played the full 80 minutes in England’s 27-26 win against the world champion Springboks.

In all likelihood, Farrell and Smith will both start in England’s Six Nations opener against Scotland, although the former will have to prove his match-fitness in the coming weeks.

Read More About: , ,