"Smith not world-class" Sir Clive Woodward names his five 'nailed on starters for England - Ruck

“Smith not world-class” Sir Clive Woodward names his five ‘nailed on starters for England

Sir Clive Woodward ha revealed his six ‘podium’ players who should be guaranteed starters for England against Australia this summer.

Controversially, the World Cup-winning coach has left out Marcus Smith as he’s not convinced he is the best English fly-half right now.

“Smith’s day will come, but is he the best at the moment?” wrote Woodward.

“We have Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell at 10 and for me it is either/or, but not together under any circumstances.

“They are both ‘podium’ No 10s but Farrell is not a 12. If the World Cup was this weekend I would have no hesitation in starting Owen at 10 and as captain and cannot understand how he attracts so much flak.

“We seem to take comfort in the number of good players we have but it is not numbers, it is world-class players in your starting XV that counts. 

“Where England are all over the place is at 9, 11, 12, 13 and 14. We don’t know who the best players are for international rugby.”

#1. Ellis Genge

Leicester Tigers player Ellis Genge during the Gallagher Premiership rugby game between Leicester Tigers and Harlequins at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Dec 5th – PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK

#2. Maro Itoje

Maro Itoje of England during the Autumn Nations Match between England and Tonga at Twickenham Stoop on 6 November 2021. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK