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The online troll fuelling Marcus Smith and his England ambitions

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

England and Harlequins out-half Marcus Smith is the consummate pro. Following the most difficult period of his career boomeranging out, in and out again of the England team across the recent Guinness Six Nations, it would be understandable if he stayed hidden away from the media limelight.


That, though, is just not his style – and with Harlequins set to welcome a bumper Gallagher Premiership crowd to Twickenham this Saturday versus Bath, the effervescent No10 was front-of-house on Wednesday acting as a promoter’s dream to drum up interest in the top-flight match.

Grouped media interviews over Zoom can often be awkward, with stilted answers and the conversation not lasting all that long. Smith, however, was online for 50 minutes, patiently responding at length to a smorgasbord of queries.

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Everything from his awkward England situation under Steve Borthwick, his belief that his country can still win the Rugby World Cup, the online troll whose criticism fired him up four years ago, his relationship with Jonny Wilkinson, the tricks he has to help get into flow mode, Nick Evans not continuing with coaching at Test level, how to fix the Premiership, his thoughts on potentially switching to the Top 14, Finn Russell joining Bath, his love of playing at Twickenham with Harlequins… and the England women’s rugby team.

Here, RugbyPass publishes in chronological order a blow-by-blow account of the 36-question Q&A that took place with a dozen journalists:

Journo: Did the second half of last Saturday’s win over Newcastle see Harlequins find their mojo again?

Marcus Smith: Obviously, this season has been very topsy-turvy for us. We are not in the position in the league we want to be. We have put a massive emphasis on this game (versus Bath) in terms of the last time, the last opportunity we have in front of our fans, in front of our friends and family. We know and we believe that if we put our best foot forward and play the game in the style we want to play, it’s pretty tough to live with. We need to work on the consistency piece but that’s something that if you look at our squad now, it’s a different squad than we had two years ago so we are in a different phase of our development and we’re improving. So hopefully this weekend we can kick on again and deliver a good performance at Twickenham.


Journo: How much do you like playing at Twickenham with your club?

Smith: Any time I get the opportunity to play at Twickenham it’s an unbelievable moment for me and my family. But it’s especially different when you play there with your club. Not many clubs get the chance to play at Twickenham. We are very lucky, we get the privilege to play twice a year guaranteed and hopefully more as well. I loved that game against Exeter. It was a big game for us. We had Faithless there. The spectacle was tremendous. In this day and age, where rugby is, those games are really important, not just for us on the field for the points, but for the fans as well. Ultimately, we need them otherwise there’s no game. I hope they enjoy this week. The Kaiser Chiefs will be amazing and will help build a proper atmosphere.

Journo: How much is there to be gained by getting more people to Twickenham than the Stoop?

Smith: To get as many people watching and playing the game of rugby kids, older people, whatever age they are, men and women, it is important it is accessible to them. With a bigger stadium, there is more opportunity for people to come. I don’t know what the ticket prices are but I am sure Quins are trying their best to make it accessible and it’s a privilege to be part of a club that is forward-thinking in that aspect and wants to put on spectacles, not just for us as players that excites us but for the fans as well because they are massively important to us.

Journo: Are Harlequins just about still in the playoff hunt?


Smith: Yeah, 100 per cent. Something this group is trying to work on is not looking at the table every single week and being outcome-based. We want to be process-based. Look at the top teams in the world, Leinster and Toulouse, they look so focused on themselves internally and therefore they deliver performances week in, week out. The results normally go your way if you focus like that. It’s one of those things we have been trying to work on. We have used this three-game block as a block for development, for putting our best foot forward and see where we are at the end of it because the exciting thing is it’s never over ’til it’s over. We know that if we win this weekend, it could be down to the last weekend. It could be a quarter-final away at Welford Road, which would be another brilliant occasion.

Journo: You have played only 6-7 Premiership games this season. Has it been hard missing games with Harlequins?

Smith: In my first five years playing professional rugby, I have been able to play 25 to 30 games a year. It’s different now but I guess it’s massive kudos to the club that we have got a few of us now in the England squad and in those camps. Fair play to the club. As well it’s one of those things if you want to be a team that delivers trophies, which we want to be, you have got to have good depth, people who can fill in. That is what we are working on. Obviously, I want to play a bigger part in playing for Harlequins, but I also love playing for England. It’s a win-win for me, to be honest.

Journo: How will you review the Harlequins season?

Smith: A lot of it is to do with mentality. We have got caught in looking too much at the results, looking too much externally. I believe that if we get our stuff right, we will be there or thereabouts in the game and you rely on individual pieces of brilliance as well as the subs coming on and making an impact. The key thing is working on that mentality so that week in, week out we judge ourselves against ourselves as opposed to against the result because you can still play badly and win, but the week after will pay you back and you will end up losing. That is one key thing and then secondly, just a bit of variation in our attack. A couple of years ago we brought in this different move that gets Danny (Care) and our scrum-halves running. Potentially a bit of variation on that will catch teams out a bit more. And tighten up our defence: we’re still conceding a fair few points. If we limit that to 20, which is still a lot but it’s a step in the right direction, I believe we will be winning a few more games which means we are in the top four.

Journo: Where will the attacking game go within the sport in the next year, two years?

Smith: The way the laws are refereed now, the breakdown is such a tightly contested part of the game. That is still going to be at the forefront. If you look at the top teams the offload game is slowly coming back – the way that France play, Ireland play, post-contact, how you can keep the ball alive to limit the number of breakdowns, limit the opportunities for the opposition to get the ball. That is going to be a big part. And attacking kicks, With the goal-line drop out it’s probably a bigger incentive for the attack now as you know you are getting the ball back. There will be more chances taken in the attacking 22 where defences are so solid, there are 15 men in the front line and you have got to commit two or three to the ruck; you’re always outnumbered there. So if you can get an advantage either in the air or on the floor you can score a few tries there. And then defensively, slowing the ball down with the breakdown, getting numbers on their feet, that’s where I think the game is going to go. But attacking-wise, keeping the ball alive, keeping the ball moving to limit the amount of opportunities for jacklers. There are so many jacklers now in the league and in the world, you want to limit the amount of opportunities they have to get over the ball.

Journo: Playing with freedom – what does it mean and how does it feel to you?

Smith: Good question. Playing with freedom means having loads of options around me, not pre-meditating anything, almost taking the ball to see what is around me, and making good decisions at the line. When I am feeling at my best, when I am feeling smooth, my basics are good and my passing is in front of all my forwards and backs which allows them to get us over the gain line or get to the edges. At Quins, we have a lot of luxury as our outside backs are lethal and our forwards are good carriers as well. It’s a mixture of feeding those guys and as well as myself not overthinking the decisions I’m going to make, not over-analysing or over-doing that side because that is when I go into the game with preconceived ideas, I get tight, my passing is off and it’s not a good feeling.

Journo: In cricket and tennis as well, players have a song in their head when they are in rhythm. Do you have something like that which kicks in when you are on it?

Smith: I don’t really have any songs or anything. It’s a weird feeling. Whenever I walk out around the feeling before I can feel it in myself and when I don’t feel it in myself, I try and shake myself out. You know how boxers walk into a boxing ring, they are trying to get rid of the yips as such because ultimately when you are on the field that is the time you need to go and the time you need to be at your best. I feel that I’m at my best when I’m free and my arms are loose but I have got an inner competitive streak that always shines through, and a focus. So if I ever feel tight or anything I try and loosen it out by just shaking my arms and smiling because ultimately it’s the best part of the week – the weekend. You have got to enjoy it.

Journo: You have been searching for the rhythm this season more than in other seasons. Has Jonny Wilkinson helped with the dips to push you back into that free mode?

Smith: Yeah, 100 per cent. I’ve been very grateful to be working with Jonny for the last six or seven years. The lessons he taught me in my first year and in the years that have gone by as well have put me in a good position where I’m able to move on a lot quicker than I used to. I used to be a terrible loser and used to get frustrated really easily just because I was competitive and wanted everything to be brilliant. Now that I’m a bit older and have played a few more games, I understand that it doesn’t always go to plan. The 15 in your team are desperate to win but the opposition are desperate to win as well. Therefore, if you hang your hat on that you go through the rollercoaster. But if your focus on, ‘Are you working as hard as you can during the week, are you improving as a person and as a player, are you helping the team get better’, then you can hold your head up high whatever the result. It’s obviously been tough this year because I was injured for 10 or so games, missed a key part of the season and haven’t played as much rugby as I have in the past. Obviously, the more rugby you play the more rhythm you get and the more match-fit you get so that has added to it as well. But I’m not here to make excuses. I haven’t been at the levels that I know I can hit and I know I want to hit, but there is still time and there is still a lot of the year left so fingers crossed.

Journo: With Jonny, do you run him every day, every week, do you meet for a coffee, for a kick – how does that all work?

Smith: No, I think if I rang him every day, he’d block my number. I just chat with him probably a couple of times a week. I try and kick with him once a week when I can and just chat with him about life, chat with him about his experiences, and try to learn as much as I can off him. He has been brilliant for me in rugby as well as outside rugby, so I have got a lot of appreciation for him and I’m very grateful that he is part of my life.

Journo: Do you get the same at-home advantage bounce at Twickenham that you do when playing at the Stoop?

Smith: Yeah, we do. Playing in front of bigger crowds at the home of rugby gets you excited. Everyone in the whole club will be buzzing Friday night to be able to walk across to the big Stoop across the way and play there. There are more fans so there will be more noise and if you’re not excited for these sorts of games you can’t really get excited for anything. We do get a massive bounce from that. The Quins fans always travel well to Twickenham and they always shout and sing for us. We definitely feel that on the field. The Stoops needs to be more of a fortress – we know that. We have lost a couple of games there this year, a handful of games or whatever it is. We want that to be more of a fortress but our record at Twickenham is pretty decent, so we will be going into this weekend confident.

Journo: What did you make of Bath signing Finn Russell for next season? You have had your battles with him with England.

Smith: Yeah, I have chatted to him a little bit about it. He is very excited. He’s a top player and the way he has been playing probably the last year-and-a-half has been brilliant. I love watching him play, I love chatting to him about rugby and about life as well and he will be a big addition for them. You see how they [Bath] are playing at the minute: they are turning a corner, they have had a couple of nice results. They are getting a lot of their injured boys back and they have got quality across the field, so it’s going to be a tough game for us this weekend and when Finn goes there next year, he is going to add something to their attack for sure.

Journo: How valuable is it for the Premiership to have a signing of his stature when some big names are leaving?

Smith: Yeah, 100 per cent. It shows the quality of the league, that people want to travel to play in our league and we are very lucky that we have competitive games week in, week out. The fans hopefully are also enjoying that because if you look just at the fly-half position in the league, we have got some brilliant fly-halves week in, week out that are playing. For me as a young fly-half, it’s an honour to be playing against these guys week in, week out and challenging myself against the best players in the world. So, his addition will make a big difference to the league and it will hopefully put more bums on seats next season.

Journo: Do you ever see yourself going in the opposite direction, going to France to the Top 14 at some point in the future – Is it something that crosses your mind or do you always want to stay in the Premiership?

Smith: I’m still early on in my career. Obviously, I want to experience different cultures, I want to play in different leagues. But I’ll do that when the time is right for me, for my family, for my girlfriend and in my development as a rugby player and as a person as well. But at the minute I’m loving playing in the Premiership, I’m loving playing for Harlequins, and I guess we will see what happens in the future.

Journo: How did you go about processing the Six Nations to kick into the tail-end of the club season? Previously, you have talked about at the end of a campaign with your diary and making notes and spending a little time in isolation reflecting on things.

Smith: Yeah, I do that regularly. I have got a little book where I write all my thoughts, what I’m grateful for in my life. And post-Six Nations, obviously I was disappointed, firstly, with how we went as a team. We came fourth, we have higher standards than that. And personally, I was disappointed as well. Obviously, the France game sticks in my head as a bad one. So yeah, I took a bit of time. Quins were very good with me in terms of giving me some time off to rethink and look back at my game, look back at how I was in that time. And I’m definitely a much stronger person and much more resilient and much more mature off the back of it. Again, I’m grateful for that opportunity with England.

Journo: Did you reach any conclusions on those reflections that you can share?

Smith: It’s pretty private mate, to be honest. The one thing that, again I said it earlier, is looking at myself, looking at my performances and how I can help the team – and I could have done that slightly better in different ways. But ultimately I tried my hardest. I love playing for England and I put my 100 per cent heart into every single game, into every single training session that I was luckily given a chance to participate in. Obviously, things didn’t go to plan but, as I said, I’ll be stronger off the back of it.

Journo: Twickenham is always a special place for you. That France day for England was pretty chastening. Does that leave a scar in the memory when you return to Twickenham because of what happened that day?

Smith: I wouldn’t say it leaves a scar. Obviously, it was a tough day but I have experienced in my short time playing for England and for Quins a few tough days there. South Africa last autumn was tough, Argentina was tough. But I have also had brilliant days there – and those are the days I try and remember. Winning across there is special – in either a white shirt the quarters – and it’s about positive reinforcement in your mind that I can do it and that I have done it in the past. So, leaning on those experiences and sometimes re-watching them to build some confidence is important for me and I’m massively excited to step out there this weekend.

Journo: Maro Itoje recently remarked Premiership Rugby should make it more attractive to keep England players – should England players be available more for their clubs?

Smith: Yeah, I think so. I’m only able to play for England because of Harlequins. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that you play well for your club and you go away and you miss more games and therefore you have less of a chance to influence the club’s performance in the league – and on the training field as well which is important, especially during a long season. There are definitely amendments that can be made in terms of that. Speaking to other players across the league, they are all desperate to play for their club – as well as England. So, if there is a compromise that can be made with both parties, it will benefit not just the league but the individuals, too. They will be much happier in themselves, able to make a proper difference for their club, and hopefully get more rhythm into their game that helps them to play better for their country. And as well as that, the viewing numbers will hopefully go up which is important in this day and age.

Journo: Hopefully a knock-on effect of that will be an improvement in England’s performance because if you are getting the best out of the players at the clubs it’s the perfect platform to take it to Test level?

Smith: Yeah, 100 per cent. You summed it up perfectly. The more rhythm and game time you can get, the more connection you can get with your club mates who potentially will be playing with you for England, the better the international team will be. I don’t have anything else to say on that.

Journo: That Exeter game, Harlequins clicked. What is the difference between when it does and doesn’t click?

Smith: Firstly, it’s confidence during the week. Thinking back to that Exeter week, there was a lot of focus and a lot of desperation in that performance because I don’t think the results were going our way before that. When our outside backs are confident, when they want the ball, when they are calling for the ball, they are unbelievable in the wide channels the way they physically dominate the opposition, the way they can offload and bosh people in front of them. It’s a pleasure to be throwing them the ball. And as well as that, our forwards… again, it was a long time before that that we started scoring some mauls, we started getting some ascendancy on that front. That game was a sort of perfect storm, but what it comes down to is the focus during the week, the desperation that we all had as a team and a club, and with that you breed confidence going into the weekend knowing that you have challenged each other on the training field, that you have made small tweaks based on the opposition. You can go into the weekend and fully back yourself and throw the ball when potentially when it’s a 50-50. Obviously, there is a bit of luck but you do make your luck as well if you work hard and if you are positive with the ball, you do make your own luck.

Journo: What more can the Premiership do to keep hold of its England internationals?

Smith: I’m not really sure about the discussions that are going on, that is way above my pay grade. But for me, there are a couple of things. If you look across to the Top 14, you see the dominance they have in Europe. For me, that is mainly down to the salary cap which is a huge topic. I’m not that clued up on it so I don’t know much about it, but if they have got more resources and finances to build their squads they are probably going to be in a better position to win those tournaments. I have never personally been further than the round-of-16. When I was younger, I drew in my book that I wanted to win the Heineken Cup. To do that here in England is extremely tough and for me that is a big draw. As well as that, two clubs folded [Wasps and Worcester] which is never a good sign for the game in the Premiership. You see the viewing numbers in France are rising. The number of people that are watching games over there is a different level to us. There are avenues the Premiership can go down. I’m biased but Quins are playing a big part with games like Big Game and Big Summer Kick-Off, a bit of variation in the game of rugby, which is so traditional, might entice a different environment, a different audience to come and watch our games. That leads to better grassroots participation, which hopefully means an increase in the salary cap which hopefully means better teams and hopefully European titles come back to England.

Journo: So you think it is more of a long-term plan, resetting it from the community and grassroots level which will filter up?

Smith: Yeah, I do. Look at sports around the world. If there are teams putting in good performances, you are more likely to watch as a kid. I remember as a youngster watching LA Lakers, Boston Celtics. I was never from America but these games, where there are superstars on both sides, are always tightly competitive and it’s exciting to watch. It makes me buy an LA Lakers t-shirt. The more exciting and enjoyable we can make our game in England for fans to watch, it will feed down. So it is both ways.

Journo: Can you talk us through that crazy fortnight about the emotions and dynamics that were at play when you were released from the England squad, led Quins to that big win at Twickenham, then recalled, started over the captain (Owen Farell) and then featured in that heavy defeat – can you talk us through that roller coaster of a fortnight?

Smith: So, post the Wales game, I only played about a minute and in the lead-up to that I didn’t play that much as well. I started the Scotland game and played 10 minutes against Italy. I spoke to Steve and we spoke about getting some more game time under my belt, getting some more rhythm, so he sent me back to Quins with a couple of things to work on and I got my teeth into that Quins week trying to add to the team and enjoy myself as much as I could because it was a massively important game for the club, financially with the amount of people that were at the game and for our league position. I enjoyed that day a lot and to be able to play at Twickenham again was massively exciting. Then that Sunday I got called to come back into camp on the Monday and on the Tuesday or Wednesday, I was told I was starting. It was a roller coaster couple of weeks emotionally but if I was put in that situation five years ago, I would have dealt with it very differently. I would have been like a rabbit in the headlights. Instead, I was pretty calm, I was composed, I was very excited for that France opportunity because last season we had a close game against them away in the Grand Slam game. I made a few errors that cost us the game, so I was desperate to play against the best team in the world again. That game didn’t go to plan and I was gutted after that for a few days. That is how I would sum up those two weeks.

Journo: How difficult was it getting released back to Quins and not training with England, did you truly believe you could start for England?

Smith: I guess I had probably half a per cent inkling that could have been me (finished) but I trust Steve. Every conversation I have had with him has been honest, has been constructive feedback. Therefore, I trusted him. I went away, worked on my game, tried to put my best foot forward that weekend and obviously things happened off the back of that. But there was a half a per cent inkling obviously, like there would be for everyone. You never know when your last game is for England. I tried to remove that from my mind as soon as possible because it wasn’t helping me, it wasn’t helping me to help the team and it was going to be useless that week, so I tried to get rid of that from my mind.

Journo: What are your feelings when you and the Harlequins team make that walk from the Stoop to Twickenham?

Smith: They are unbelievable. We are in a lucky position to play for Harlequins and be able to that walk. You see how well-supported we are as we walk across there. It gets the hair on the back of your neck tingling and being able to put a smile on so many people’s faces is what I enjoy doing and seeing the excitement that they have for us to play at Twickenham is brilliant. To be able to walk across there, see your family before leaving the Stoop and then head across knowing you have got a job to do and a performance to deliver is exciting. You are a bit anxious walking across but as you get close to Twickenham, the excitement builds, and you become more and more ready for kickoff.

Journo: The young players in the Harlequins squad who haven’t had a taste of this walk, how do you feel that can boost their readiness for the match against Bath?

Smith: When you see how passionate the fans are to see you play it makes everyone step up a gear. There are not many players who get the privilege to play at Twickenham and for some of the boys, especially the young boys, it is a taste of hopefully what is to come for them in the future not only in a Quins shirt but for England as well. Some of them ask you stuff during the week and what I say to them is enjoy the experience, enjoy everything about it, from the walk, the changing room to running out to all the fireworks before the game because when you retire you remember those moments and we are very privileged to do it. There are not many people in the world who are able to do that.

Journo: What do you make of Bath’s current form?

Smith: I have watched a couple of their last few games, they have been extremely physical, they have been extremely confrontational, you look at the forward pack they have got, they have internationals across the pack who have many skills that we need to nullify. Underhill is back now. You look at the front row, Tom Dunn, Beno Obano, Will Stuart, our forwards have got an important part in this game. They have got to be able to get dominance there and then if you look at their backs they have got some electric backs who if you give them time and space, they are able to cut you up. Guys like Olie Lawrence, Joe Cokanasiga, Max Ojomoh, Tom de Glanville, it’s endless the list. We have got to be right on our mettle in terms of our defence but in attack as well we have got to be on our roles in the breakdown, we have got to be quick to stop their jackal threats across the field and if we do that hopefully we will get good speed of ball and we can score some points. It is going to be a tough game because they have got a lot of quality in their team.

RugbyPass: Despite another Six Nations with just two wins from five matches, can England still win the Rugby World Cup?

Smith: 100 per cent. You have got to believe otherwise there is no point going across there. I definitely believe. I think we showed glimpses in that Six Nations of what we are capable of as a team and with a longer preparation time this summer we will be able to improve our game, improve all facets of our game and then go to France really confident and with hopefully the nation behind us. It’s not too far from home so I am sure the England fans will travel in numbers and I will definitely try my best and I know the team will try their best to make the country proud.

RugbyPass: What do you make of the longer pre-season in a World Cup year compared to other seasons?

Smith: We get our mandatory five weeks off which will be important for us to refresh the mind, refresh the body and then we are into it. I think it’s a seven-week pre-season which will be tough but it will be exciting. I was very lucky, I was invited to the last one so I did four or five weeks in that and the minute you get your kit on day one you know the end goal is to lift that trophy in Paris. I think day one is going to be super exciting and as we build through those seven, eight weeks, we will get more clarity on the way we want to play, we will get more cohesive as a team and we will be in a good position to win the trophy in France.

RugbyPass: There is a lot of social media negativity out there. Alex Dombrandt, for instance, deleted his Twitter account after the Six Nations. How do you handle it?

Smith: Firstly, it is obviously a privilege that people are talking about you; I guess that is a positive way to look at it. But yeah, I don’t really have time for people who want to be negative to anyone on the field because ultimately we are all trying our best, we are all humans and we make errors and obviously criticism comes with that, but I just don’t look at it. I do see it once in a while, but I don’t go searching for it because if you see 100 good comments you will remember the one bad one that will stick with you for your life. I made that mistake about four years ago and since then I don’t look out for that sort of stuff.

RugbyPass: What was said four years ago?

Smith: There was a comment made that I would never play international rugby because I can’t tackle or something like that. It’s extra fuel and motivation. There are always going to be people in your corner and there are always going to be people against you and ultimately I get to choose what I focus on, I get to choose what I want to listen to and the most important people that I listen to are my family and my coaches.

Journo: Nick Evans (the Harlequins assistant) worked with England during the Six Nations and that is not going to continue. Is that disappointing to you, what are your thoughts on that?

Smith: Snapper [Evans] did a brilliant job coming into England in the Six Nations. I thought he added a few different ideas to the table and I thought he was very helpful for me being in that environment. Having spoken to him a little bit about it, he has learned an awful lot from being in that environment. So, he will be a better coach and we are feeling that with Quins at the minute, he has definitely improved since being in that environment. I’m not in his decision-making process as to why he or… I don’t really know the dynamics of what happened there. But I know he loved being in that environment. He loved putting that England rose on, even though he is a Kiwi. And yeah, obviously it’s going to be a different attack coach coming to the World Cup. So again, a new relationship for me to build and grow, but having Nick Evans on the outside as well, being able to talk to him and bounce ideas off him, knowing that he has been in that environment before, will be helpful for me as well.

Journo: In your couple of years in the England squad, there has been quite a turnover of coaches in that attack role. Has that been a hindrance to you slightly as you are trying to get used to the team, you’re trying to carve your thing with them and yet several times you have had to work with a new attack coach – wouldn’t it be easier if they stuck with one?

Smith: Again, I don’t really know how that dynamic works. Every single attack coach that I have worked with at England has been brilliant and added things to my game, has challenged me on certain levels and I’m thankful for all of them. Hopefully, I get along well with the new attack coach and hopefully I can learn things off him as well which will hopefully add to my game and improve me going forward.

Journo: The Red Roses [the England women’s team] will be in action at Twickenham on Saturday week. How great is it that they have surpassed the 50,000-ticket mark?

Smith: Yeah, that’s brilliant. It shows the strength of the women’s game in England. I saw that this morning actually that they have surpassed 50,000 and that is a massive credit to the women on the field and all the support staff and everything to do with that regime. It’s inspiring, it’s exciting. There are now a lot of young girls who are desperate to become Roses. The (playing) numbers in women’s rugby have improved drastically in this country and probably across the world. I know my cousin loves playing rugby, so she is massively behind it and I think she is going to the game next weekend. I will be looking forward to watching that and following that on TV and getting behind them because they are a pretty successful team and hopefully they can win another Six Nations.

Journo: Do you have much interaction with them or is it quite separate?

Smith: I know a few of them from Quins but we don’t really see that much of them as our schedules are very different to theirs. It would be nice to share experiences and learn from them as much as they can hopefully learn from us. All I can say I guess is when I see them in the corridor is ask them how the experience is going, ask them about how excited they are to play at Twickenham and I know from what I have seen this week that they are all massively excited.

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