?>
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Opinion: The England fly half debate

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Wednesday Mar 6, 2024

Ever since Marcus Smith’s incredible rise from promising Quins youngster through to international revelation, I’ve been waxing lyrical about the young genius.

If I were to take my place on the mastermind hot seat, would my special knowledge round really be on Marcus Smith? Probably, yes.

But…that doesn’t mean he would simply float into my England team.

In fact, I’m possibly about to surprise even myself, Marcus Smith’s biggest fan-boy, with my England fly-half selection.

The decision is not an easy one amidst a side being heavily slated for their results and playing style under a relatively new coach. But Steve Borthwick still has the confidence of the RFU, and he now has the important decisions to make moving forward.

ADVERTISEMENT

So let’s have a look at his options:

Do England adapt to the types of player they’re bringing through? Or do they stick with their unapologetically English power based, simple kicking game?

George Ford

If they are to stick to a pragmatic gameplan, then they need look no further than the incredibly intelligent and experienced George Ford. Now entering the latter stages of his career, the Sale Sharks fly half can control a game like no other ten in world rugby. If rugby was a game of chess, Ford would be a grand master.

A very calmly spoken chap around camp, there’s no doubt whatsoever that Ford instils a level of clarity and respect within an England circle filled with youth. A vital cog in a much changed England squad.

He needs to be in the mix.

Fin Smith

Having said all of this, what use is an understudy if they never get the chance to perform. That’s where Fin Smith comes in.

Recently compared to Ronan O’Gara after silencing the Thomond Park crowd during a Champions Cup match, Smith is already thought to boast the multitude of skills that only the very best fly halves hold. Already playing well beyond his years, it’s time to put the 21-year-old to the test.

Marcus Smith

As previously stated, I would have Marcus Smith starting in every must win game for England. There has been a lot said about his career so far, but for me his international journey is only just starting. Long term it will be a battle between the two Smiths, but for now, Marcus is the number one.

Conclusion

England need to make decision. Either look to the future or commit to the past, don’t get caught dilly-dallying in the middle.

Here’s what I would do:

ADVERTISEMENT

George Ford is a great bloke to have around camp and an even better player to have on the field. Except, England don’t need him on the field at the moment. England need to use these next two years experimenting with new blood and new combinations – not trying to beat teams in a competition they’ve already lost with players that have already gained almost 100 caps.

Start Fin Smith. He has bags full of potential and still has the youthful ability to react to different styles of play depending on Borthwick’s aim. Give him game time and allow him to experience all different international matches. He won’t be the finished article for quite some time, but this is the way world class tens are created.

Marcus Smith is just returning from injury and will be a perfect impact sub for his young namesake.

Related Articles

  • 12 WEEKS AGO

    Jonny Gray to exit Exeter Chiefs with immediate...

  • 12 WEEKS AGO

    Former Connacht hooker shares brilliant rugby...

  • 12 WEEKS AGO

    Official calls halt to play amidst double-call...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Wallabies star Filipo Daugunu commites daylight robbery for superb try against Wales

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Wallabies score incredible end-to-end try under immense pressure from Wales

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Beauden Barrett sets up EXCEPTIONAL All Blacks try to take the lead against England

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Smith and Freeman combine to put England in front in Auckland

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Two incredible tries in the space of two minutes as All Blacks and England come out swinging

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    England enforcer's tour could be over following red card vs Japan

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Pitch invader melted in thunderous tackle

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bath's Beno Obano shown red in the Premiership final

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    World Player of the Year BANNED heading into Paris Olympics following horror challenge during Madrid SVNS

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Debate surrounding ludicrous rugby league tackle leaves union fans baffled

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Magnificent Frawley drop goal seals Irish victory in Durban as Kolbe accused of 'diving'

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Northampton fans dismayed as 'dismal' new badge revealed

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Fans bemused as France make use of 'attacking' new rule for defensive purpsoes

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Crazy end to France vs All Blacks match as TMO involved in final kick

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Rugby 25 early access given shock release

View All

Funnies

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Wild changing room scenes as Toulouse begin their Top 14 victory celebrations

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Footage emerges of Handre Pollard before his famous RWC semi penalty

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    'I don't think I've found a front rower that is normal' - Joe Marler

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Rassie Erasmus's underrated mental warfare ahead of Ireland series

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Rugby brotherhood on full display between three South African Rugby legends

View All

Amateur

  • 79 WEEKS AGO

    You Won’t See Many Better Than This Silky-Smooth Try From Llandovery RFC

  • 79 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes As Caldy RFC Hand Ealing First Championship Defeat Of The Season

  • 102 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 102 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 103 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

View All

Player Features

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Ringrose in for Aki as Farrell names Ireland squad to face Springboks

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Match preview: All Blacks vs England

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Japanese club confirms three big name overseas signings

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Semi-finalists decided after torrential rain disrupts final round of pool matches

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Ireland to face most capped starting XV in Springbok history

View All