The exact Marcus Smith moment that left Owen Farrell fearing for his England job
Marcus Smith sent the perfect message to Steve Borthwick on Saturday after being dropped from the England squad, with a man of the match performance for Harlequins against Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham.
The England head coach emphasised that Smith was sent back to his club during the fallow week in order to get some game time, and the move looked to have paid off both for Quins and maybe England next week against France at Twickenham once again.
It only took eleven minutes for Smith to make his statement, with a deft kick for Andre Esterhuizen to chase and eventually put Cadan Murley in for a try. It was at that moment it became clear that he was gunning for his England spot again.
Having started against Scotland in round one of the Six Nations, Smith was demoted to the bench for the clashes against Italy and Wales, so he needed to do a lot to make Borthwick reconsider his No10.
His chip kick summed up his attacking performance as Quins ran riot in the first half. He also assisted Joe Marchant’s first try, as the London side built a 26-0 win at half time on the way to a 40-5 victory.
Maybe more importantly though was the fact that he kicked five from six kicks, which could be crucial given how Farrell’s kicking has fallen off a cliff recently.
Take a look at the try:
BATTLE OF THE SPEEDSTERS! 💨🍃
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) March 4, 2023
Quins coach Tabai Matson said after the match: “Marcus has come in, he knows what he needs to do and he knows the game well.
“What you saw is a guy that can find space, run, pass or kick. He’s passionate and he’s demonstrative when he does something well, that was him at his best.
“What you saw was a masterclass in finding space. That’s the best thing he could’ve done, he did what Steve asked of him – he bossed the game and made it difficult.
“I think he’ll be in the mix, he can do no more. Danny (Care) is special for me, he’s such an indicator for greatness.
“But if you ask the coaches who won that, they’d say the loose forwards were unbelievable.”