Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? Well, not exactly a plan but a prediction. Earlier in the year, we had a look at some young players to look out for within both the Pro 14 and Aviva Premiership and most of our tips have enjoyed promising starts to the season. None more so than Harlequin’s Fly Half, Marcus Smith.
This kid has been exceptional so far this season, and has attracted plenty of media attention, as well as the praise of England Head Coach, Eddie Jones; it’s safe to say things are looking good for young Marcus.
Age is just a number
At the mere age of 18, he is playing his first season of professional rugby but he has taken to the league like a duck to water. Smith is the second youngest debutant in Premiership history but he hasn’t let the pressure or the age get the better of him and instead, has taken the bull by the horns and controlled matches for long spells.
Fly Half s an extremely demanding position to play and for someone so young and inexperienced to be offering so much at this stage, is immense. So, what is next for this young man; is he ready to start mixing it at test-match level?
A Challenger to Owen Farrell and Other Outside Halves?
This kind of chat is slightly premature; England has an abundance of quality players in that position, with the likes of Farrell, Ford, Slade and Francis all challenging for spots within the England back line. However, if Smith keeps putting the kind of performances that have stimulated much praise, he'll soon be mentioned within conversations regarding an England spot; it's just a matter of time.
He’s been included in Eddie Jones’ 33-man training camp in Oxford and if he is successful in impressing the coach, who knows, he may feature sooner than many expect. We all know Eddie Jones isn't afraid to throw a cat amongst the pigeons. While Smith may be 'fifth' in the standing for the England fly half role, Jones has conceded that he’s always on the lookout for ‘bolters,’ and has referenced the rapid rise of Milner-Skudder to the All Blacks starting XV in 2015, when asked about Smith's chances.
Learning from One of the Best
Smith has a fantastic opportunity to learn from one of the best 10’s the Premiership has seen, in the form of ex All Black, Nick Evans. With the right nurturing and guidance, this combination could prove extremely beneficial for Jones and England, as well as for Smith.
As with all raw, young talents, the key is to allow them to develop; this guy could be special, however, Jones and Co. will ensure that he remains grounded, as, after all, one of the key qualities that Jones looks for is determination and work ethic.
Great start Marcus Smith; I look forward to seeing what you’re capable of producing.
If your club has any extremely bright talents, we want to know about them.
Where do they play, what have they achieved thus far, and most importantly, where do they want to go?