England captain Owen Farrell has praised the passion that international rookie Marcus Smith brings to the team.
Smith won his first two England caps in the summer against the USA and Canada, before joining up with the British and Irish Lions in South Africa in what was a whirlwind couple of months for the youngster.
Much is expected of the Harlequins fly-half, but he is still largely untested in international rugby, despite leading his club to an unlikely Gallagher Premiership triumph.
Farrell was speaking to RugbyPass ahead of his country’s November internationals and praised the man who may one day soon replace him in England’s starting line-up.
Owen Farrell on Marcus Smith.
“It’s his passion for the game that you can see oozes out of him,” Farrell said of new England team mate Smith.
“You can see even when he scored at the weekend he loves scoring, he loves doing well for his team and he is really enjoying playing at the minute so he wears his heart on his sleeve as it looks when the game comes around.
“That is a massive asset to have, the immense passion he has got for the game. He is obviously a massive talent and a very exciting player. We have worked together before. He has been in camp before when he was a bit younger.
“We shared a room together and things like that before in the past and it was good to get to know him a bit better over the summer [with the Lions]. He is a brilliant lad and he is not just a very talented player but a proper student of the game.”
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) October 25, 2021
All eyes on England’s 10-12 axis.
Farrell and Smith are likely to start at least one of England’s tests next month together, with the Saracens skipper at 12 and the Harlequins play maker at 10, but there are a number of viable options available to Eddie Jones.
Manu Tuilagi is currently fit and in fine form and will likely start at either 12 or 13, depending on if Farrell is chosen to start at inside centre.
Henry Slade is also likely to get game time at outside centre with Tuilagi inside him, which would relegate one of either Farrell or Smith to the bench.
While England head coach Jones will use the next three games to experiment with his best starting line up, it is anyone’s guess as to what combination he will eventually settle on over the next couple of years.