England fly-half Marcus Smith “could be an absolutely brilliant 10”, but needs Owen Farrell’s help to “run the game for him”, says Eddie Jones.
The England head coach confirmed that his current captain is likely to come straight back into the starting XV for their Six Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield.
“Every brilliant 10 in the history of the game has been accompanied by a stable 12,” Jones said.
“That’s the combination I think we need to have, and Owen brings that at 12.
“He [Farrell] is going to be an important player for Marcus,” Jones added.
“Marcus could be an absolutely brilliant 10, but he needs to have a guy next to him who is going to run the game for him – and that is where Owen is so good.
“What we saw with Owen in November, in the short time he played, was really positive, he came back in rejuvenated,” Jones said.
“And you also have got to remember those Saracens blokes have had a really tough time. I certainly didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have. I thought they could come back in the Six Nations [in 2021] and play at the level they could, and I over-estimated that.
“Now there is the opportunity for those players to come back. We have seen it with Jamie George in November, how positive it was when he came back, and Owen showed that in the Australia game.
“I have got no doubt Owen can go on and play really well in the Six Nations.”
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LIST | Fans rank every home nations ‘MOST ANNOYING’ current player
IRELAND: Peter O’Mahony
A flanker that plays on the edge and never fails to get under the skin of opposition fans. His late hit on Stuart Hogg and foul-mouthed war of words with the Kyle Sinckler during the 2019 Six Nations did him no favours. The sort of player you love to have, but also love to hate.