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Marcus Smith eyes allegiance switch when 'dream' England career ends

By Josh Raisey
Marcus Smith of England celebrates victory at full-time following the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Bronze Final match between Argentina and England at Stade de France on October 27, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Franco Arland/Getty Images)

England and Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith has expressed a desire to one day “be involved in Philippine rugby” when his current Test career comes to an end.

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The 24-year-old was born in the Philippines to a Filipino mother and a British father, and spent the first eight years of his life there. Under current World Rugby eligibility rules, the fly-half would be able to represent the country of his heritage after a three-year stand down period.

Speaking on an Ask Me Anything session with England recently, Smith was asked whether he would want to represent the Philippines, who his brother Luc plays for, when his England career comes to an end. Though that still seems a long way off , Smith said how he would love to play with his younger brothers should his body allow. He did, however, stress that his focus is solely with England currently, not that anyone should doubt that.

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Stephen Larkham on his name being mentioned for the Wallaby job

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Stephen Larkham on his name being mentioned for the Wallaby job

“One day I’d love to help and be involved in Philippine rugby, my brother currently plays for the Philippines,” the 30-cap England international said.

“Obviously my heart and my mind are fully with England at the minute, it’s a dream of mine to be wearing this kit right now. One day that might be different, or when I retire from here, if I get that opportunity, if my body still holds up, it would be lovely to play with both of my younger brothers.”

Such is Smith’s commitment to England that he even underwent a positional switch midway through the World Cup, starting at fullback against Chile for the first time in his career. Two tries in a 71-0 win against the South Americans earned the Harlequin the No15 shirt for the quarter-final victory over Fiji, although a concussion in that match ruled him out of the semi-final against eventual world champions South Africa. He did take hold of the shirt again though in the bronze final win over Argentina.

This positional switch has even rubbed off on Harlequins, who shifted their playmaker back to fullback for the final quarter in a win over Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

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He was also asked how he found the switch into the No15 jersey in the AMA, and whether he thinks it is permanent.

“I’m finding the switch to No15 kind of interesting,” he said. “Obviously, I love playing for England so whenever I get the opportunity to take the field I’m very grateful and honoured to do so. My favourite position is to play fly-half, however, I’ll do anything that’s best for the team.”

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4 Comments
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Sumkunn Tsadmiova 220 days ago

Blimey - he got smashed up playing 15 for England. Playing 15 for the Philippines against a proper team might really sting…..

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Turlough 4 hours ago
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