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'Make Marcus Smith England captain now' - Quins 10's inclusion demanded online

By Ian Cameron

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Pressure is mounting on England head coach Eddie Jones to pick Harlequins livewire, Marcus Smith, to start the Autumn Internationals after another barnstorming Gallagher Premiership performance.

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Smith led Quins to a remarkable 54 – 24 victory over Pat Lam’s Bristol Bears at the Stoop. Smith could barely put a foot wrong, a brilliant solo try after he grubbered to himself to go in under the posts the highlight.

It’s just the latest chapter in Smith’s journey, which has kicked into high gear in 2021. His Premiership heroics last season saw the 22-year-old called up to the British & Irish Lions in July by Warren Gatland and it doesn’t look like he’s ready to kick the brakes anytime soon.

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While Smith started for England the last time they played (against the USA during the summer) there is a fear in some quarters that Jones may still be reticent to start him in big Tests. While Jones has dropped Leicester Tigers’ George Ford from the wider England training squad, when the chips are down the Australian has typically opted for flyhalf incumbent Owen Farrell. Of course, Jones has the option of pushing Farrell to 12 to make way for the Harlequin.

Pressure is certainly being heaped on Jones to throw caution to the wind and select Smith and ‘running rugby’ this November.

Brian Moore wrote: “Quins v Bristol – I’m not sure what more Marcus Smith and Alex Dombrandt can do to put their case for England.”

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‘Eddie Jones currently thinking how he can make Marcus Smith slow the game down and kick more,’ wrote former England stand-off Andy Goode facetiously. “Just make Marcus Smith England captain now!”

RugbyPass writer Chris Jones wrote: “No doubt Harlequins Marcus Smith can bring something special to England Rugby IF Eddie Jones embraces the concepts that make Nick Evans such a brilliant attack coach.”

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Rugby Paper journalist Neil Fissler noted: “If Marcus Smith isn’t England’s starting ten this autumn we might well all pack up and go home.”

Former Wales centre Tom Shanklin pondered – tongue in cheek – what it might take to lure Smith to the URC: “How much to get Marcus Smith into the URC?”

Retired England captain Lewis Moody noted: “Well Marcus smith and Alex dombrandt last night, made a huge claim for starting spots in this year’s autumn internationals. Premiership Rugby in a great place.”

Harlequins senior coach Tabai Matson was full of praise for the youngster following the game. “Marcus Smith in this system is exceptional. Any time he gets into his groove he not only creates opportunities but is a real handful for the opposition,” Matson said.

“The try he scored on the chip through shows a world-class skill set. He was a little bit rusty on some of his kicks, but this was his first game back so you expect that.

“I wouldn’t say Alex is unique, but he’s rare as a loose forward. He’s very skilled. His anticipation of where the line breaks are going to be means that he can put the hammer down 10 seconds earlier in his support lines and assists.

“He’s so skilful. He’s playing really well. I thought he played exceptionally well. Defensively he was bloody good and got a couple of key turnovers.”

The ball is very much in Eddie Jones’ court, although he’s not a man known to bow to demands of the media – social or otherwise – but there is no doubt that Smith couldn’t make a better case for the coveted England No.10 jersey.

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'Make Marcus Smith England captain now' - Quins 10's inclusion demanded online

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