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Many are saying the same thing about Owen Farrell being dropped

By Ian Cameron
Steve Borthwick and Owen Farrell of England look dejected following the team's defeat during the Six Nations Rugby match between England and Scotland at Twickenham Stadium on February 04, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

The news of Marcus Smith starting at fly-half for England’s ‘Le Crunch’ fixture against France and Owen Farrell being dropped has caused a stir among rugby fans on social media.


It’s the first time the Saracens man has been dropped since 2015.

While some expressed their surprise and concern over Farrell’s absence, many others have praised head coach Steve Borthwick for his bold decision to start the young Harlequins playmaker.

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Warren Gatland explains his line-up to face Italy in 4th round of Six Nations
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Warren Gatland explains his line-up to face Italy in 4th round of Six Nations

Many fans have lauded Borthwick’s courage in making such a crucial call, with some hailing it as a stroke of genius. Supporters of Smith, in particular, are thrilled to see their young star get a chance to prove himself on the international stage, and have predicted that his attacking flair and creativity will give England an edge over the French.

While some have expressed concern over Farrell’s leadership and kicking skills, many fans have focused on the positive implications of Borthwick’s decision, pointing out that it shows his commitment to building a team for the future. They argue that by giving Smith a chance to shine, Borthwick is not only preparing England for the next World Cup but also sending a clear message that no one’s place in the team is guaranteed.

Guardian rugby correspondent Robert Kitson wrote: “Marcus Smith at 10, Ellis Genge captain, Owen Farrell on the bench for England v France. Fair play to Steve Borthwick for having the courage of his convictions.”

Rugby Stats man Russ Petty captured the rock and a hard place dilemma Borthwick has unavoidably placed himself in by dropping Farrell. “Can only imagine how much Borthwick cares about outcome bias and avoiding the full fury of Farrell Loyalists, People’s Front of Ford or the Movement for the Restoration of Marcus Smith.”


Stephen Wall wrote: “You’ve got to applaud Borthwick’s balls. Is it the right decision though? Maybe. My tuppence worth: he’s Alex Goode 2.0 – superb club player, not Test-level. Let’s see.”

Commentator and journalist Alastair Eykyn wrote: “Big, bold call from Borthwick, displaying a commendable flexibility, honesty & ruthless touch necessary for a selector. Youngs, Tuilagi, Farrell… class players but no favourites, everyone knows the score. Could be tasty on Saturday.”


Graham Peacock wrote: “Huge call by Borthwick on Smith over Farrell especially against France. Feels like a bit of a watershed, testing whether Smith can do it against the best at Test level. He knows what he has in Farrell, brave selection.”

All eyes will be on Smith as he takes the field for his first start in an England jersey, and fans will be eager to see how his youthful exuberance and talent fare against one of England’s biggest rivals.




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