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Marcus Smith ready to show England's attacking intent

By PA
With George Ford and Owen Farrell out of the picture, it is time for Marcus Smith to make the 10 shirt his own (Photo David Rogers/Getty Images)

Marcus Smith is ready for England’s growing confidence in attack to meet its toughest examination yet when they face New Zealand in Dunedin on Saturday.

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Steve Borthwick’s side opened the tour by running in eight tries against Japan a fortnight ago, with the 52-17 victory continuing the theme born in the Guinness Six Nations of greater intent being shown with the ball in hand.

Even though World Cup finalists New Zealand are being remodelled by new head coach Scott Robertson, they will still provide a gauge of just how far England’s attack has come.

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Jamie George excited to play on a fast track under the roof in Dunedin | Steinlager Series

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Jamie George excited to play on a fast track under the roof in Dunedin | Steinlager Series

Harlequins fly-half Smith will pull the strings at Forsyth Barr Stadium believing he will be directing a team that is improving in multiple areas.

“We’re developing a super strong set-piece, our defence has really improved in the last year and a half and I feel our mindset from an attacking point of view has improved as well,” Smith told Sky Sports.

“We showed glimpses of that last time out and in the games against Ireland, France and Wales.

“In the last three games of the Six Nations we made a conscious effort to be aggressive on both sides of the ball and ever since I came back into camp for this summer tour, that was the mindset – around building excitement.

“That’s really resonated with this group. We had a really good game against a very good Japanese team last week and I think we implemented some of those things.

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“Obviously we know that playing the All Blacks in their home nation is going to be a tough test, but it’s one that we’re really excited for. Hopefully we can show the best of ourselves against the best of them as well.”

Smith has taken control of the number 10 jersey at the expense of Fin Smith, the Northampton fly-half who steered Saints to the Gallagher Premiership title last month.

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Fin Smith has his supporters in the duel between the young ringmasters but his namesake from Quins will secure an extended run in the position if he shines against the All Blacks.

“Personally, I don’t see it as me against Fin. To be a part of this tour I am truly grateful,” Smith said.

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“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Fin over the last three or four weeks. Obviously he has had a tremendous year for Northampton and England and I have enjoyed picking his brains, asking him different questions.

“For me, to be a part of a tour where we win in New Zealand would be a dream come true and I know Fin is of the same mindset as well.

“As long as me and Fin are singing off the same hymn sheet, delivering the messages that we both believe will help the team score tries and get points, then we are both happy.”

England have made two changes to the front row for the first of two Tests against the All Blacks with props Joe Marler and Will Stuart promoted off the bench.

They enter their first match on New Zealand soil for a decade as underdogs despite being further advanced in their development for the 2027 World Cup.

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Comments

13 Comments
H
Haami 15 days ago

This game could be an absolute banger. England have good form coming in, but that is countered by the genuine excitement of Razors new tenure in the top job, theres a real buzz in the air coming into this one. If England get a fast start, I predict a close tussle with England to win -7, if the All Blacks find thier groove early it could be a long night for the red rose. Good luck to both sides 🙂

B
Barry 15 days ago

Should be a very good match up with him and McKenzie.

Both natural full backs who have had to shift to #10 because of their stature.

Both need a lot of protecting from their pack to get going.

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