Eddie Jones has drawn an intriguing comparison between uncapped sensation Fin Smith and Owen Farrell, expressing his belief that Smith possesses the necessary skill set to make a swift transition to Test rugby, even outpacing his No. 10 rival, Marcus Smith.
In what could be a pivotal moment in a standout season with Northampton, the uncapped Fin Smith stands on the brink of an international debut.
Unfortunately for Marcus Smith, a calf injury sustained in Monday’s training session rules him out of this Saturday’s clash in Rome.
Smith, who had been expected to start against the Azzurri, was injured in training on Monday.
His absence means Northampton’s in-form 21-year-old Fin is set to make his international debut in the Stadio Olimpico.
Speaking today, former coach Jones is unwavering in his confidence that Fin will seamlessly adapt to the international stage, setting the stage for what promises to be a noteworthy debut.
”[Fin Smith] had just moved to Northampton when I was about to leave and was showing signs of developing his game,” Jones told The Telegraph.
“He has a good skill-set, kicking game, quite a mature, calm player.
[He is] one of those young 10s who seems to have experience already, a bit like Farrell. He will probably make the jump to Test rugby quicker than the more instinctive 10s do, like a Richie Mo’unga or Marcus Smith.”
Tribute to Farrell:
“You couldn’t get a more committed, hard-working, diligent player than Owen Farrell,” Jones said.
“He’s one of the top three points scorers of all time and one of the greats of our game. We don’t know the reason why he’s dropping out, but we do know what happened during the World Cup when he was booed consistently by fans, there was context that even some of his own fans were booing him.
“He has been attacked and his family have been attacked on social media, for what? Because he’s a hard, committed player. All of that doesn’t sit well.”
“Drop Genge, Steward” – Brian Moore picks his England XV for 2024 Six Nations opener
In a bold move reminiscent of his illustrious playing days, iconic hooker Brian Moore has unveiled his handpicked England XV for Steve Borthwick’s squad in the upcoming 2024 Six Nations opener against Italy.
15. George Furbank
14. Tommy Freeman
11. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso
Moore wrote in The Telegraph: “George Furbank would probably edge this pick strictly on club form and this game would be ideal to see if the Northampton Saints full-back can make the decisive step into a starting role after his first series of England starts were inconclusive.”
“I would go straight for Exeter’s Immanuel Feyi-Waboso. It would be his first cap, but opening against Italy is the least pressured of Six Nations debuts and, cynically, it would secure his allegiance for the forthcoming years.
“You can never choose a completely risk-free debut, but you will never have an understanding of any player’s potential unless you give them a chance.”
13. Henry Slade
12. Fraser Dingwall
Moore wrote in The Telegraph: |As Oscar Beard is also out through injury that leaves Fraser Dingwall, replacement call-up Max Ojomah or Daly. If Borthwick goes for the latter, it is the safe option but, given this is Italy, he should give Dingwall a start and just see where it goes.”