Steve Borthwick makes his feelings clear on Marcus Smith with latest statement - Ruck

Steve Borthwick makes his feelings clear on Marcus Smith with latest statement

Steve Borthwick has defended Marcus Smith after the fly-half’s missed kicks contributed to England’s narrow 16-15 defeat against the All Blacks.

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Despite the loss, Borthwick remained optimistic about the team’s chances in the series finale in Auckland on Saturday.

“In the changing room, you could sense the disappointment among the players because we set out to win,” Borthwick said.

“There was pride in the effort, but also frustration. Marcus produced some moments of magic out there today. We can talk about mistakes, but everyone makes them, and Marcus also produced magic on that pitch.”

Reflecting on the team’s overall performance, Borthwick added, “There wasn’t much in it. There were two tries apiece and the margins were very fine.

“That second half turned into a proper arm-wrestle in the middle of the pitch. It was a real battle, and we will review it thoroughly to work out how we can be better next week.”

“The effort of the players was magnificent. There will be areas to improve upon, and we will look closely at them.”

Expected England XV:

George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 11 caps)

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter Chiefs, 5 caps)

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 64 caps) – vice-captain

Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 26 caps)

Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints, 10 caps)

Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 34 caps)

Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 17 caps)

Fin Baxter (Harlequins, 1 cap)

Jamie George (Saracens, 92 caps) – captain   

Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 40 caps)

Maro Itoje (Saracens, 83 caps) – vice-captain

George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 14 caps)

Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins, 6 caps)

Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 37 caps)

Ben Earl (Saracens, 32 caps) – vice-captain

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