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France-England D-1: focus on Marcus Smith, the nugget who made Owen Farrell forget

2022-03-18T01:07:53.821Z

At only 23 years old, Marcus Smith imposes himself as in the XV of the Rose, he who has already won the English championship with the Harlequins. Focus on the new magician with Asian origins from across the Channel.



Jonny Wilkinson, Toby Flood, Owen Farrell, George Ford.

For more than 20 years now, the England team has evolved with an exceptional number 10.

Four players with more than 60 selections with the white jersey.

For a few months now, a new kid has been pointing the tip of his nose: Marcus Smith.

Flamboyant with his club Harlequins, he put on the jersey of the selection for the first time last July.

This young player of 23 years has since pushed back George Ford (80 caps) on the bench.

Excuse a bit.

To discover

  • Ranking Tournament 6 of Nations

  • Calendar and results 6 Nations

Beginnings between Asia and Europe

It all started on February 14, 1999 in Manila, the Philippines, the birthplace of little Marcus.

As a gift for the Smiths on the feast of love.

They welcome the first of their three children there.

Big brother of Tomas and Luc, Marcus is a child of the world.

The son of an English father and a Filipino mother who met in Hong Kong, he grew up in Singapore.

The eldest of the Smiths started playing rugby at a young age, aged seven, in the Centaurs RFC club, taking inspiration from his parents, who both touched the oval ball.

Read alsoFrance-England D-2: “Among the English, the absence of motivation does not exist”, warns Ibanez

I grew up in Asia, the weather was always nice and our lives revolved around sport, being together and having fun, mainly

” reveals to

Rugbyworld

the one who grew up with rugby

7s .

players like (the Fijians) William Ryder or Waisale Serevi, the type of players who make the spectators stand up by confusing the defenders.

It made me want to learn that (...) I want to entertain the public and make them stand up too.

»

At 13, the young Marcus arrives in England with his family.

He then joined Brighton College and directly joined the rugby team, becoming one of its executives.

The young opening half is above the fray, despite his small size (1.75 m today).

Only he likes many sports.

He also plays cricket and supports the local football team: Brighton & Hove Albion FC.

At the age of 15, the future rugby player even tried out for a prestigious London club: Tottenham Hotspur FC.

Visibly inconclusive tests but a love for the round ball which today explains - in part - his taste for the game on foot and his skill in front of goal.

But Marcus Smith continues rugby with his college.

In 2016, he was elected player of the prestigious inter-school tournament of Saint Joseph.

Competition which he did not however win.

The native of the Philippines then joined the academy of Harlequins in London.

A mad ascent

Everything goes faster with this kid.

Whether it's his trajectory as a junior or among the professionals, or his very sharp vision of the game.

Marcus Smith makes his Premier League debut on September 2, 2017. He starts the season opener with the number 10 on his back, alongside legend Danny Care, England's 84-cap scrum-half.

At 18 years and 200 days, Marcus Smith becomes the second youngest player to start in the Premiership, behind a certain… George Ford.

The Leicester player started pro at 16 years and 237 days.

Marcus Smith will win in his first season with the Harlequins.

Taking advantage - among other things - of the injury of the incumbent Demetri Catrakilis, the young opening half played 28 games during the 2017-2018 financial year, including 23 as a holder.

The opener will also discover the Champions Cup at the same time.

Six group matches played with Harlequins, including two against Stade Rochelais, but five defeats.

A dark season for the London Quins.

Only seven wins in 22 matches.

They finished in eleventh and penultimate place in the championship.

Despite this, one player stands out: Marcus Smith.

The opener scored three tries and planted 199 points on foot for this first season.

He is also pre-summoned by Eddie Jones in an expanded group in the fall of 2017.

Read alsoXV of France: “England is a wounded beast, therefore dangerous”, warns Fickou

Since then Marcus Smtih has been performing high-flying performances with his club.

31 matches in the 2018-2019 season, 27 the following season.

During this time, he also tastes the selections among young people.

In 2018, he was the starting opener at the Under-20 World Cup.

He climbed to the final with England.

A competition won by the Blueberries by a score of 33 to 25. In the final, Marcus Smith was associated with Ben White, now an international with Scotland.

The English hinge faced a pair Arthur Coville - Louis Carbonel on the French side, while a certain Romain Ntamack started in the center.

Marcus Smith scored 18 points against Cardiff on December 18 in their 43-17 Champions Cup victory.

JOHN SIBLEY / PANORAMIC

Consecration in club then great England

The 2020-2021 season will be the advent of his young career.

In England, the Harlequins have now recovered.

The Quins end the season in fourth place and qualify for the championship play-offs.

To reach the final, they move to Bristol, leader of the regular season.

A match that turns into a nightmare for Marcus Smith and his teammates.

The visitors are down 28-0 after half an hour of play. Max Malins' try just before the break and then Tyrone Green's after the break will keep Harlequins hopeful.

Three tries scored in fifteen minutes and a return to the score at 28-24 shortly before the hour mark. A score of 31-31 at the end of regulation time and the two teams went into extra time.

The Harlequins will find Exeter, reigning European and English champions after a historic double.

In the final, the scenario will be just as crazy.

The two teams are neck and neck the whole game.

In the first half, Marcus Smith receives a yellow card for a voluntary offside on his line, wanting to annihilate the test of Exeter.

This will not prevent the English striker from making a four out of four on foot.

Valuable contribution during this short success 40 to 38. The club only won its second league title, after a first coronation in 2012.

During the title year, Marcus Smith played 24 games with his club.

All as holder.

He planted eight tries and scored 290 points.

This season, the English opener starts on the same bases.

Ten matches on the pitch with the harlequin jersey.

Four tries and already 104 points in total.

Excellent seasons which finally allowed him to discover the international level.

Read alsoFrance-England D-2: “We hear, we remain attentive” to the provocations of Eddie Jones, insists Galthié

After a pre-call in 2017, Marcus Smith finally honors his first selection on July 4, 2021. Four years of waiting for this opening half but also for the supporters of Quins and English rugby, tired of the behavior of Eddie Jones , who has dismissed this nugget for too long for their taste.

The coach of XV de la Rose decides to start him against the United States during a summer test match.

A big 43-29 victory, and a decisive Marcus Smith.

For his first cap, he joins the party and scores one of his team's seven tries.

Add to that four transformations and the opener leaves his first selection with 13 points scored.

The opening half of Harlequins continues and knows his second tenure during the demonstration against Canada (70-14).



After the summer and a new group - and without the executives - for the English, Eddie Jones wants to try something new during the Autumn Cup of Nations in November.

We will start with Marcus and Owen (Farrell) in 10 and 12 to see how they can play.

We need to improve our ability to attack aggressively,

” explained the English coach on November 3.

After a 28-minute start against Tonga - and a scored try - on November 6, Marcus Smith starts against Australia on November 13.

A match during which Owen Farrell takes the goal, until his exit in the 68th minute.

At the end of the match, number 10 scored five additional points.

Owen Farrell injured, it was Marcus Smith who took charge of the goal alone the following week against South Africa.

The English opener scored 12 points in this narrow 27-26 victory, including the penalty for winning in the 79th minute.

"

There is no limit to the level he could reach

," admits Eddie Jones, about his young player.

He could be an absolutely phenomenal player when the World Cup arrives

(in the fall of 2023 in France, editor’s note).

He could be a great player.

»

Rugby as a game

Marcus Smith is the antithesis of English standards.

This opening half has a very aggressive game, very incisive, very offensive.

He moves fast, likes carrying the ball, coming to support, making calls.

Obviously, like any good Anglo-Saxon rugby player, he is also very effective with the ball, in everyday play - with overhand shots or low kicks - but also in front of goal.

Already 106 points scored at the foot in nine selections.

For the child who grew up in Asia, rugby should remain a game. “

I always see rugby as playing with Brighton College on Saturdays at school.

The day I find it's a chore, it will be the day I start to decline in my career, so I hope it will never happen

”confesses Marcus Smith, advised in selection by a certain Sir Jonny Wilkinson.

"He teaches me a lot, not just about rugby, not just about kicking, but about how to live your life, how to behave when you're under pressure, or not, when things are going in your favor , or not”

revealed the 23-year-old opening half on that of almost 20 years his senior (43 years old next May) to the press a few days ago.



A crazy ascent and a fiery game that impresses his counterpart this Saturday, Romain Ntamack.

“He is a very, very good player, he is exploding with England.

He is a centerpiece of their game, a very dangerous player.

He does great performances with the Harlequins.

We know that we have to watch him, that we focus a little on him because a lot of balls go through him.

He brought this little side of madness to the English team.

With him, they put a little more play, a little more offensive.

We analyzed him on video, we have to be very compact to defend next to him ”

explains the French opening half, holder this Saturday against Marcus Smith.

And his 6 Nations Tournament?

He is THE revelation of the Tournament, perhaps even the best player of it.

George Ford, the only other opener summoned by Eddie Jones against the Blues, has been relegated to the bench since the start of the competition.

Shortly before the start of the Tournament, the usual captain and scorer of the XV of the Rose Owen Farrell, playing in the center or at the opening, withdrew for the entire competition.

On February 5, Marcus Smith is lined up from the start against Scotland.

The Harlequins player knows his 5th tenure there with the XV de la Rose, but his first in the Tournament.

At 22 years.

A baptism of fire in the legendary Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh under the roar of 67,000 boiling Scots.

But like a Melvyn Jaminet with the Blues, the one who impressed from his debut with England does not know the pressure.

The England fly-half scored 17 points… or all of his team's points.

One try and four penalties.

At the start of the second half, he played perfectly.

Marcus Smith comes up to Ben Youngs and goes to flatten in the opposing in-goal, leaving Finn Russell on the flank.

A test which, at this time of the match, allows the English to take the lead.

If, due to the defeat of his team, he cannot be voted man of the match, he was undoubtedly the best Englishman in Scotland.

Read alsoTops / Flops Scotland-England: the Thistle was more spicy, double penalty for Cowan-Dickie

Released shortly after the hour mark against the Scots, the English number 10 will play the entire match against the Italians.

It will take him less than ten minutes (nine minutes and 38 seconds exactly) to light the first wick.

After a series of

pick and go

from the English forwards, Marcus Smith perfectly shifts Max Malins on his wing.

The winger hands it over and the fly-half scores his second try in the competition.

Five points to which will be added those of four transformations.

13 points in total and the title of man of the match for the one who is also twice decisive passer during the meeting.

Marcus Smith, decidedly unstoppable.

Against Wales, the Harlequins opener scored 18 points, his record - for the moment - in the competition.

This time, he does not flatten in the opposing in-goal but spends six penalties.

18 precious points during the narrow victory of his 23-19.

A new XXL performance for number 10, once again elected man of the match.



Against Ireland, the young opener is less to his advantage.

Reduced to 14 after only a few seconds of play, the English do not hold the ball and play simple.

Difficult to set the pace in these conditions.

The English striker still passes five penalties during the meeting.

Again, it is he who scores all the points for his team.

This Saturday, Marcus Smith will challenge the Blues for the first time in his career and will try to deprive Fabien Galthié's men of the Grand Slam.

Read also Tops / Flops England-Ireland: Gibson-Park in charge, Ewels sees red entry

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2022-03-18

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