Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

Marcus Smith could potentially miss entire Six Nations with England

By PA
England's Marcus Smith (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England have revealed that Marcus Smith could miss the entire Guinness Six Nations because of the calf injury that has ruled him of at least this Saturday’s opener against Italy and Wales a week later.

ADVERTISEMENT

A clearer picture of Smith’s fitness will emerge next week. In the meantime, veteran George Ford has been installed at fly-half for the Stadio Olimpico showdown with Fin Smith deputising from the bench.

Smith is one of five uncapped players in the matchday 23 and should all of them get time on the field, it will be the highest number of new caps awarded in a single Six Nations match since Stuart Lancaster’s first game in charge in 2012.

Video Spacer

Stuart Lancaster on the mentors Henry Arundell has at Racing 92

Racing 92 coach Stuart Lancaster discusses the mentors young star Henry Arundell will have around him at the club, including Owen Farrell

Video Spacer

Stuart Lancaster on the mentors Henry Arundell has at Racing 92

Racing 92 coach Stuart Lancaster discusses the mentors young star Henry Arundell will have around him at the club, including Owen Farrell

Centre Fraser Dingwall and flanker Ethan Roots are included in the starting XV while Smith, back row Chandler Cunningham-South and wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso feature on the bench.

In a boost to England, Alex Mitchell has recovered from a leg wound to take his place at scrum-half, but the player who was expected to partner him at half-back faces an anxious wait to see if he will be involved at all over the coming weeks.

Related

“Marcus went back to England on Thursday and will have further investigations later this week. He won’t be available next week,” Borthwick said.

“We’re not sure exactly when. Hopefully, he will play in the latter part of the Six Nations, but it will be a number of weeks. We’ll know more next week.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Mitchell’s immediate prospects of building on becoming first-choice scrum-half at the World Cup were thrown into doubt when he felt unwell as a result of the infected wound he took into England’s camp in Girona, preventing him from training fully until Thursday morning.

“Our medical team took great care of him over the weekend and at the start of the week to get the infection under control and he looks brilliant,” Borthwick said.

“He played a lot of minutes for us during the World Cup and has played a lot of time for his club, so he is match-sharp and ready to go. He looked fantastic in training on Thursday.”

Experienced faces such as Ford, Joe Marler and Maro Itoje are present throughout the 23, but the rare inclusion of five debutants indicated the post-2023 World Cup rebuilding phase is underway, even if some of the picks were forced on Borthwick.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dingwall starts at inside centre having been included in nine previous England squads without winning a cap, allowing him to prove he is the solution to the team’s problem position.

Although lacking the raw power of the injured Manu Tuilagi and Ollie Lawrence, the 24-year-old is a classy runner who is comfortable at 12 or 13.

Team Form

Last 5 Games

3
Wins
2
1
Streak
2
14
Tries Scored
11
19
Points Difference
26
2/5
First Try
1/5
3/5
First Points
1/5
3/5
Race To 10 Points
0/5

Roots, a former jiu-jitsu champion who qualifies for England through his father, represented the Maori All Blacks but having left New Zealand in 2021 he has proved a hit at the Ospreys and now Exeter. If Finn Smith, Cunningham-South and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso join them on the field, it will be an injection of fresh faces not seen for 12 years.

“Each one of those guys has earned his place in the matchday 23. Each one of them is an exciting young player,” Borthwick said. “I didn’t think I’d be naming a 23 with five debutants. I’ve asked when the last time was England named a 23 with five new caps in it!”

Related

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

0 Comments
Be the first to comment...

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

J
Jon 4 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

4 Go to comments
TRENDING
TRENDING Everyone is saying the same thing about the Doris-Kolbe incident Everyone is saying the same thing about the Doris-Kolbe incident
Search