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'There's a bit of Farrell, he doesn’t mind trying to throw a big hit'

By Liam Heagney
England rookie Fin Smith (Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Retired England lock Ben Kay is intrigued with how the Test career of young Fin Smith could develop in the next few years. The recently turned 22-year-old out-half will start this weekend’s Gallagher Premiership final as the Northampton No10 versus Bath.

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He is then expected to go on England’s summer tour to Japan and New Zealand having been one of the three out-halves used by Steve Borthwick during the recent Guinness Six Nations.

Smith debuted off the bench away to Italy, was an unused replacement at home to Wales, and was then a late introduction up in Scotland during February when Marcus Smith was unavailable to provide bench cover for the starting George Ford in a campaign that was England’s first minute Owen Farrell following his decision to take a Test rugby sabbatical.

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Farrell’s sabbatical will now extend for a couple of years as he is switching from Saracens to Racing 92 on a two-year deal, meaning he is ineligible for Test squad selection.

It’s a development that offers an opportunity for Smith to stake his claim to be the No1 England out-half in time for Rugby World Cup 2027 in Australia.

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“He looks the genuine real deal,” said Kay, the 2003 World Cup winner, to RugbyPass in an interview that will be published in full this Thursday, two days before the Premiership final where he will be featuring in the coverage on TNT Sports 1 and discovery+.

“We all know what he can do but it is some of the little things that perhaps people aren’t watching yet. He is an aggressive defender. He doesn’t have the size perhaps but there is almost an element of looking at him and going, there is a bit of a mix of all three England 10s in there.

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“There is a bit of Owen Farrell, he doesn’t mind trying to throw a big hit in there every now and again. George Ford’s ability to take it right to the line and make the right pass. So he is just a nice, balanced player and the key will be the temperament and I think he has got the temperament in spades.

“A good example of that was when he missed his shot at goal last Friday night (against Saracens) and stepped straight back up and hit the next one – you could just see in his reaction, he did a massive fist pump.

“He has settled himself and it will be really, really interesting what happens over the next few years because you tend to get peaks and troughs and sometimes people are going, ‘God, England haven’t got a 10’ and now you have got four absolutely brilliant 10s, all with their different attributes but Fin might sit somewhere in the middle of all of those.”

  • Watch Northampton Saints v Bath Rugby in the Gallagher Premiership final this Saturday, live on TNT Sports 1 and discovery+ from 2pm.
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Comments

3 Comments
A
Anthony 13 days ago

Agreed Colin .

If England are going to rebuild a new team then they must start with a 10 now that will be around in 5 years time and have gained experience at test level.
Not the past sell by date players .

C
Colin 13 days ago

The issue is Borthwick’s conservative approach to selection.

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