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Marcus Smith to meet Borthwick after missing training camp

By Ian Cameron
England's fly-half Marcus Smith claps the fans after the Autumn Nations Series International rugby union match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham stadium, in London, on November 19, 2022. (Photo by Ian Kington / AFP) (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Flyhalf Marcus Smith is set to meet Steve Borthwick in a one-on-one after he missed the new England head coach’s first training camp due to an injury.

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An ankle sprain has prevented Smith from participating in Borthwick’s first training camp, which took place in Gloucester and included a mix of experienced players and young talent.

Smith went off midway through the second half of England’s 27-13 defeat to South Africa in the Autumn Nations Cup and is yet to return to the field.

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He has already missed Harlequins’ opening Heineken Champions Cup games against South African side Cell C Sharks and French heavyweights Racing 92, plus a Gallagher Premiership appointment with Bristol at Twickenham on December 27. Harlequins head coach Tabai Matson has said Smith is very close to returning to action and could yet start for England in the Guinness Six Nations.

Despite missing the camp, Hugh Gowin reports for iNews that Smith is set to meet Borthwick in person and discuss his future with the national team. Borthwick, who has previously stated that he wants to build a physically aggressive and dominant team, will be looking to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the squad and begin implementing his vision for the team.

Smith made his international debut for England against the USA in 2021, before being whisked away to the Lions tour in South Africa and has generally impressed with his Test performances to date. However, England superstar Owen Farrell has hit a fine vein of form for Saracens and currently looks odds on to return at No.10 under the Borthwick regime.

The training camp also provided an opportunity for Borthwick to get to know his players and build relationships with them as they prepare for the Six Nations tournament in February and March. England are looking to bounce back after a dreadful Autumn Nations Cup and build momentum ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

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