"Borthwick lost the plot" - Marcus Smith set for shock position switch - Ruck

“Borthwick lost the plot” – Marcus Smith set for shock position switch

Steve Borthwick could be set to deploy Marcus Smith in a radical new position as he attempts to kickstart his sides lacklustre attack.

The England head coach will be without captain Owen Farrell for England’s first two pool games after World Rugby successfully appealed against the decision to overturn his red card in the win over Wales on 12 August.

The appeal committee said the tackle was “always illegal”.

The Telegraph reported yesterday that ‘England have been working on a radical ‘plan B’ to deploy fly-half Marcus Smith at full-back’ as another one of their key players was ruled out of the World Cup opener.’

They continued: ‘Smith trained there in a behind-closed-doors practice match against Harlequins last week and then came on at full-back for the final 10 minutes of England’s 29-10 defeat to Ireland last week.

‘Smith’s introduction provided a flicker of life into England’s moribund attack, which has yielded the fewest number of tries of any tier-one country this year.

‘It is understood that this option continues to intrigue Borthwick, who has delayed the internal naming of his team to face Fiji this week where he has to balance the need to build cohesion against the risk of incurring further injuries and suspensions.’

Social reaction to position switch:

One fan wrote: ‘Probably the first inventive thing in Borthwick’s tenure. Massive trade-off in solidity but it’s where he sparks many attacks from anyway and we currently offer zero threat returning the ball. Opponents would have to think twice about a blanket chase.”

A second commented: “Cue the aerial bombardment!”

Another said: “Smith, as talented as he may be is not the answer at full back. Better served with Steward taking high balls but looking to offload (even if still in the air) to Arundell or Watson. Use resources properly and play with pace. Mitchell, Smith, Arundell, Watson, Lawrence all start.”

“Christ on a bike! England were poor and predictable with Ford at 10 Let Smith play with freedom at 10.” added a fourth

Borthwick’s Expected Team For Final Summer Nations Series Match

Here is RUCK’s prediction, for the expected England team to face Fiji this Saturday at Twickenham.


Freddie Steward of England during the Six Nations Match between England and Italy at Twickenham, London on 12 Feb 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers)

14. Max Malins (Bristol Bears)

11. Elliot Daly (Saracens)

Borthwick will need to find a key balance between first team starters and reinforcements for this match, as he needs to secure a win, yet must avoid picking up any injuries so close to the Rugby World Cup. We’ve recalled Freddie Steward and Elliot Daly to the starting XV from last weekend, yet swapped out key winger Anthony Watson for Max Malins on the right hand side.


Joe Marchant of England on the break during the Match between England and Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium on 19 June 2022. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

13. Joe Marchant (Stade Francais)

12. Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby)

After a career riddled with injuries, we have opted to drop Manu Tuilagi to the bench. This reduces the risk of the Sale centre picking up an injury so close to the trip to France, as he can come on to run riot over the tiring Fijians in the second half. The Ollie Lawrence and Joe Marchant partnership returns from the second test match against Wales, with Marchant a key utility option to push out wide to the wing.