Statement: Steve Borthwick responds to reports he 'dropped' Marcus Smith - Ruck

Statement: Steve Borthwick responds to reports he ‘dropped’ Marcus Smith

England head coach Steve Borthwick has explained his decision to release fly-half Marcus Smith from his England training squad.

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Smith was released from the group on Tuesday, with Sale Sharks fly half George Ford being retained in Steve Borthwick’s plans. Smith is set to return to Quins this weekend, ahead of their ‘Big Game 14’ showdown with Exeter Chiefs, at Twickenham Stadium.

“Marcus has had limited game time the last two or three weeks,” said Borthwick.

“The clear thought to it and the feeling I have for him is that match sharpness, getting in a 10 shirt, boss a game, boss the team and reassemble with us on Sunday afternoon.’

Danny Care is Smith’s half-back partner at Harlequins, and knows full well the qualities that the fly half brings to England.

“Should he (Marcus Smith) be getting more game time for England? Yeah, I think more than 14 seconds. I do think he should be getting more. But it’s tough, it’s tough obviously on Marcus at the moment.” Care said at today’s Harlequins press conference. 

Marcus Smith of England lining up ready to kick a penalty during the Six Nations Championship match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on the 12th March 2022 – PHOTO: George Tewkesbury/PPAUK

“Steve (Borthwick) picked Owen Farrell as Captain, so it’s obviously going to be very hard for him to then take Owen off. I think everyone would have liked to seen a bit more of Marcus in that second half especially. I think the game opened up a fair bit. 

“It went a bit stagnant in that second half, and I felt like it needed a bit of a lift. And there’s probably no one better than Marcus to do that. Unfortunately, he didn’t get a big opportunity. But you know, I’ve got no doubts, that boy is going to play a very, very big part in England’s success over the next few years.

“The best thing about Marcus is he’ll just make the best of his opportunities, if you give him the chance, he’ll take it. And he’s going to probably bide his time a little bit. But, when the opportunity comes, which I’m sure it will, then he’ll show his class at the international stage, which he’s done, every time he’s worn the shirt.”



15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers)

Freddie Steward of England is tackled by Ardie Savea of New Zealand during the Autumn International Series match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham, London on 19 November 2022 (Photo: Micah Crook/PPAUK)

14. Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers)

11. Henry Arundell (London Irish)


13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)

12. Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby)

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