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Wales rival claims Marcus Smith has fallen down England pecking order

By Ian Cameron
Marcus Smith looks on during the England training session held at The Lensbury on July 03, 2023 in Teddington, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Wales flyhalf Dan Biggar says he believes that England’s Marcus Smith has fallen behind Owen Farrell and George Ford in Steve Borthwick’s selection pecking order.

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Wales continue their training camp preparations in Switzerland ahead of the Rugby World Cup in September. Warren Gatland’s side are gearing up to face England in two consecutive warm-up games this August. The upcoming clashes present an opportunity for both teams to fine-tune their strategies and trim down their squads ahead of the global tournament.

Biggar’s comments about Smith certainly add intrigue to the games, as he knows the young Harlequins star is seeking to stake a claim for the starting ten jersey in a highly competitive England squad. Biggar, however, believes that Borthwick will revert to some version of the tried and tested pairing of Farrell and Ford.

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Writing in his Daily Mail column, Biggar states: “The beauty of these warm-up games is you never really know what to expect. We don’t know what England has been up to over the last four weeks. Maybe they’ll have a few surprises up their sleeve. It was a bit of a shock to see Sam Underhill get released because he’s as good as anyone on his day. They have so much talent.

“I suspect there will be a big Leicester-Saracens feel to their team, guys Steve Borthwick trust to play that territory game. Owen Farrell’s captain so he’ll be somewhere in the team but does George Ford come back in at No 10? Ford was extremely successful under Borthwick at Leicester and he won’t have forgotten that.

“Marcus Smith is a hell of a player but it looks to me like Farrell and Ford are ahead of him in Borthwick’s game plan.”

Both England and Wales go into the tournament under the radar, with little expectations around their fortunes after torrid Guinness Six Nations campaigns for both sides.

Wales are currently in the process of whittling down their current 48-man squad down to 33 for the World Cup, with their opening game against Fiji in Bordeaux on September 10.

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2 Comments
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Bob Marler 348 days ago

Marcus Smith - exciting playmaker. But I guess Borthwick will go the conservative/defensive route with a Farrell at 10 for the big games.

World Cup teams rely on those types of 10s.

(However, England have a pretty easy run to QFs. So Marcus should see plenty game time and find form).

It’s why I’m concerned for the ABs at 10. Richie is amazeballs. But against a France, Ireland, bok tight WC game, I wonder what the response will be at 10. Particularly if there’s an injury at 10 leading to the QFs.

Can’t bring DMac in to play that role. What is the ABS plan at 10?

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