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'Run the game for him': Why Eddie Jones wants Farrell next to Marcus Smith

By Sam Smith
Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell /PA

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Eddie Jones has responded to criticism over the selection of Owen Farrell as England captain despite the Saracens star not playing since the Autumn against Australia in an interview with BBC Sport.

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Farrell has been sidelined with injury since but Jones has backed the 30-year-old as ‘the right guy’ for the job of England captain, and also as a key man to unlock Marcus Smith’s potential.

Jones claimed Smith needs a 12 next to him that ‘can run the game’ and that is the role that the experience of Farrell will bring.

“At the moment he’s the right guy for the job,” Jones said of Farrell’s captaincy selection to BBC Sport.

“You talk about Marcus Smith, Owen’s going to be an important player for Marcus. Marcus could be an absolutely brilliant 10 so he needs to have a 12 next to him that can run the game for him and that’s where Owen is so good.”

When questioned about when Farrell’s ‘credit in the bank’ will run out and his selection based on form, Jones said it is a balance they make for all players.

“That’s a judgement you make and it’s something we are assessing all the time, for all the players,” Jones explained.

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“Your 100 per cent right, selection is always about historical form, it’s about current form, and it’s about the potential of how you can improve.

“What we saw with Owen in November, the short time he played, was really positive. He came back in rejuvenated, and now it’s the opportunity for those players to come back. We’ve seen it in November with Jamie George, how positive it was when he came back, and Owen showed that in the Australian game.

“I’ve got no doubt he can go no and play really well in the Six Nations.”

Fans online weren’t so impressed with Jones’ assertion that Farrell is needed to guide Smith, with many sure that the Harlequins flyhalf would be fine without him. They labelled Jones’ comments ‘ridiculous’ and ‘absolute comedy gold’.

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