Steve Borthwick explains reason for omitting Marcus Smith

England coach Steve Borthwick wants Marcus Smith to improve his ‘match sharpness’ and ‘boss a game’ for Harlequins this weekend… as he explains his shock call to omit the fly-half from his Six Nations training camp

  • Steve Borthwick has omitted Marcus Smith from his England training camp
  • Smith has hardly featured in England’s last two Six Nations matches
  • Borthwick wants Smith to ‘boss a game’ for Harlequins to prove his worth 

England coach Steve Borthwick has challenged Marcus Smith to ‘boss it’ for Harlequins this weekend after the No 10 was sent back to his club. 

Smith has been reduced to a bench role in England’s last two Tests and was omitted from this week’s training camp to get more game time. 

Sale fly-half George Ford has been called up in his place, casting doubt over Smith’s hopes of facing France in the Six Nations next week. 

‘Marcus has had limited game time the last two or three weeks,’ said Borthwick. ‘The clear thought to it and the feeling I have for him is that match sharpness, getting in a 10 shirt, boss a game, boss the team and reassemble with us on Sunday afternoon.’ 

Smith has slipped behind captain Owen Farrell in the pecking order for England’s No 10 shirt. He was given just 14 seconds off the bench in the victory over Wales as Borthwick stuck to a conservative game-plan. 

Fly-half Marcus Smith has been left out of this week’s England training squad

England coach Steve Borthwick wants Smith to dominate a game for Harlequins this weekend

England captain Owen Farrell is currently keeping Smith out of the England starting XV

His Quins team-mate Danny Care said on Tuesday night: ‘Should he be getting more game time for England? Yeah, I think more than 14 seconds! 

‘It’s tough on Marcus at the moment. Steve’s picked Owen Farrell as his captain so it’s going to be very hard for him to then take Owen off. 

‘I think everyone would have liked to see a bit more of Marcus in that second half. The game went a bit stagnant and I felt like it needed a bit of a lift. There’s probably no better person than Marcus to do that but unfortunately he didn’t get a big opportunity. 

‘I’ve got no doubt that boy’s going to play a very, very big part in England’s success over the next few years. He’s going to probably have to bide his time a bit but when the opportunity comes he’ll show his class.’

With winger Max Malins injured, veteran Jonny May has been included in Borthwick’s 26-man training squad.

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