Six Nations: ‘No ceiling’ to how good Marcus Smith can be for England

Eddie Jones is refusing to place any limits on Marcus Smith after watching the playmaker inspire England to a 33-0 Guinness Six Nations victory over Italy in Rome.

Smith ran in a brilliantly worked try and set up two others to claim the man-of-the-match award as England bounced back from their narrow defeat by Scotland in round one.

The 22-year-old also beat six defenders – the most by an England fly-half since Jonny Wilkinson in 2002 – to continue his impressive start to a Test career that still only numbers six caps.

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“There’s no ceiling to how good he can be,” said head coach Jones.

STAR MAN: England's Marcus Smith. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.STAR MAN: England's Marcus Smith. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
STAR MAN: England's Marcus Smith. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

“If he keeps on wanting to get better and keeps having a learning mindset, then he could be an outstanding player at Test level by the World Cup. That’s obviously pretty important, to have a good 10.

“The forwards definitely went forward and that created opportunities for Marcus. We were very intentful with how we wanted to play. That also helped him.”

England offered a possible glimpse of their long-term future at half-back as Smith formed a creative partnership with Harry Randall that left its mark on the Azzurri.

“They made a really good start,” added Jones.

COACH: Eddie Jones. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.COACH: Eddie Jones. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
COACH: Eddie Jones. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
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“There was a lot of pace on the ball early, the ruck ball was really quick and they combined nicely.

“Marcus took the ball to the line really well in patches. And Harry added that little bit of zip zip.

“Nine and 10 are about being brilliant at the basics, about doing the simple things really well over and over again.”

On England’s performance, Jones continued: “Italy are a tough team and they keep coming.

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“If we were a bit tidier with some of our work, some running lines, it could have been a big score. We are happy with that, now we move on to Wales.

“They [Italy] have played New Zealand and France and in the first half been in the game - and they were not in the game today. Marcus [Smith] did well, Harry Randall did some good things at the start and [Alex] Dombrandt had a really solid game.”

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