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Marcus Smith gets British & Irish Lions call-up

By Ian Cameron

Trending on RugbyPass

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England flyhalf Marcus Smith has been called up by the British & Irish Lions as injury cover for Finn Russell.

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Russell was withdrawn from the replacements bench for today’s replay with the C Cell Sharks, with the Lions confirming he is nursing an Achille’s injury. Russell will not feature in the next three scheduled fixtures in the Castle Lager Lions Series in South Africa.

Smith is currently guiding England to victory over Canada in Twickenham and will fly to Cape Town on Sunday to join up with the Lions’ touring party.

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“We’re obviously disappointed for Finn, who I think has been outstanding since he came into camp in Jersey, but we are optimistic he’ll still play an important role in the Tour,” said Gatland.

“We have two experienced fly halves in Owen Farrell and Dan Biggar, so it’s a great opportunity for the continued development of Marcus.

“I’ve been following him closely for the past 12 months and I’ve been impressed with how well he’s matured as a player.

“Finn and Marcus are similar in that they like to play with a bit of freedom, so, for me, it’s as close to a like-for-like cover as we can get. We look forward to welcoming him to the group in Cape Town.”

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A star at the age-grade level, Smith played for the England U18 and U20 sides before going on to feature in an uncapped England XV fixture against the Barbarians in 2019. The 22-year-old is only playing in his third game for England, and his second capped game, having made his Test debut last week against the US Eagles.

Smith became the second-youngest player in history to reach 500 points in the Gallagher Premiership at the age of 21, behind only Jonny Wilkinson. His form with Gallagher Premiership champions Harlequins led to calls for him to feature more for England, with Jones preferring Owen Farrell and George Ford as his first and second choice at standoff.

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Marcus Smith gets British & Irish Lions call-up

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