Marcus Smith is set to be a part of England’s World Cup squad after Steve Borthwick revealed his desire to have three fly-halves at the tournament in France
- England’s preparations for this autumn’s Rugby World Cup are well underway
- Their first pre-tournament warm-up game is against Wales on Saturday in Cardiff
- Marcus Smith will start at No 10 and the fly-half is likely to go to the World Cup
Marcus Smith is destined to be included in England’s World Cup squad, after head coach Steve Borthwick confirmed on Thursday that he intends to take three fly-halves to France.
The box-office Harlequins prodigy lost his starting place to Owen Farrell during the Six Nations and George Ford’s return from injury led to speculation that Smith might miss the cut when 33 players are named on Monday for the global showpiece.
But after announcing his line-up to take on Wales in Cardiff in Saturday’s warm-up fixture, Borthwick revealed that he will retain his trio of playmakers en masse.
Asked how many No 10s he intends to select, he said: ‘Right now, I have a pretty clear framework.
‘In those key positions, you need three players who can play that position.
Fly-half Marcus Smith, 24, is set to be a part of England’s squad for this autumn’s World Cup
England coach Steve Borthwick revealed he intends to take three fly-halves to the tournament
Smith will begin Saturday’s pre-tournament warm-up game against Wales in Cardiff at No 10
Smith will likely be alongside Owen Farrell and George Ford as England’s options at fly-half
‘With the number of cards that are issued and HIAs (Head Injury Assessments), then for those specialist positions you need to have depth. You need to be protected.’
While Smith is regarded as currently third in the Red Rose fly-half hierarchy, behind Farrell and Ford, he will line up at 10 against Wales and Borthwick added: ‘I rate Marcus exceptionally highly.
‘I’ve been hugely impressed with him throughout this camp and in all my interactions with him.’