Steve Borthwick reveals why Marcus Smith missed England's first training camp - Ruck

Steve Borthwick reveals why Marcus Smith missed England’s first training camp

Marcus Smith will have a face-to-face meeting this week with Steve Borthwick after missing the new head coaches first training camp.

The England fly-half has started England’s last 14 Tests as Borthwick’s predecessor Eddie Jones gave the 23-year-old a sustained run in the high-profile position.

It would be interesting to observe the conversation between the fly-half players, especially since Smith missed England’s medical and fitness screening camp on Tuesday due to his ongoing recovery from a severe sprain of his right ankle sustained during a match against South Africa in November.

George Ford is another leading candidate for the fly-half position. He was initially dropped by Jones, then later brought back as Smith’s reserve, but has been absent due to injury since rupturing his Achilles tendon in the Premiership final last June.

The Sale Sharks playmaker was at an England camp this week, but it is unknown how much he was able to participate in the stress testing, which was designed to simulate the conditions of the World Cup pool matches in France.

Ben Earl recalled:

Saracens flanker Ben Earl has been selected by new England head coach Steve Borthwick for his first training camp with the national team.

Northampton centre Fraser Dingwall was also included in the squad. The full list of players selected for the training camp has not been made public.

Leicester Tigers tighthead prop Dan Cole also returned to the national team for the first time since the 2019 World Cup final.

New captain:

According to RUCK sources, new England coach Steve Borthwick is considering giving Ellis Genge the captaincy for the 2023 Six Nations tournament.

Genge, known for his energetic playing style, made his debut for England in 2016 and has also toured with the national team. He previously played as a number 8 and has won numerous accolades, including the Land Rover Discovery of the Year award.

The prop attended John Cabot City Technology College and played for Hartpury College, leading them to two AASE Championship titles.

The powerful forward was born in Knowle, Bristol, and cites the biggest influence on his career as his father Richard. Ellis represented England U17, U18 and U19 before figuring in eight matches for the U20 side in 2015, including the World Rugby Championship final against New Zealand. 

Ellis Genge facts:

  • He started playing rugby aged 12 at Old Redcliffians
  • Genge, who is currently on England duty in the Six Nations, shares a link with boxing legend Muhammad Ali via his grandmother.
  • The now world-class prop began his career in the back-row
  • Genge has developmental coordination disorder, also known as Dyspraxia
  • The prop gifted the mobility scooter he used when recovering from a knee injury to a older Leicester Tigers supporter who really needed it

Sir Clive Woodward selects England XV to ‘win the Six Nations’

The former England head coach is backing new head coach Steve Borthwick to get England on a roll by calling up the in-form Premiership stars.

“England can absolutely win the Six Nations and the World Cup. The more I think about it, the more excited I am about Steve Borthwick’s appointment as head coach,” wrote Woodward.

“I’m hugely excited for England’s first game with Scotland. Borthwick is in a good position to bring immediate improvement to the team because the pressure is off him and the only way is up after a disappointing last three years.

“Borthwick needs to nail down who he wants in his starting 15, but especially the key positions of 10, 12 and 13. He has to get the culture right.

“I’d like to see form Premiership players like Ollie Hassell-Collins and Ben Earl given a chance and bring a fresh, youthful vibrancy to the England set-up. Since the 2019 World Cup, Jones picked virtually the same players almost regardless of their club form.

“I think that will change under Borthwick and his selection for the Scotland game is an opportunity to really lay down a marker.”

Sir Clive Woodward England XV


  • 15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers)
  • 14. Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish)
  • 11. Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons)

Woodward wrote: “’”There are some serious speedsters in the Premiership and I don’t think Joe Cokanasiga, Jack Nowell and Jonny May are at the top of the pile.

“I’d love to see him pick from guys like Tommy Freeman, Adam Radwan, Cadan Murley and Ollie Hassell-Collins.”

Freddie Steward of England goes over for a try during the Autumn Nations Match between England and Australia at Twickenham on 13 November 2021. Photo: Micah Crook/PPAUK


  • 13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
  • 12. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks)
Manu Tuilagi of England during the Autumn Nations Match between England and Tonga at Twickenham Stoop on 6 November 2021. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK