Marcus Smith hopes Harlequin wins will open door to Eddie’s kingdom

Smith bagged a personal record 26-point haul in Saturday's season-opening win over Sale.

Nick Purewal 2018/09/03

Marcus Smith hopes to produce a string of first-rate Harlequins performances to convince Eddie Jones to select him as one of England’s premier fly-halfs.

Smith bagged a personal record 26-point haul in Saturday’s season-opening 51-23 Premiership win over Sale at The Stoop.

The 19-year-old steered Quins intelligently as the Twickenham men kick-started Paul Gustard’s coaching reign with a six-try, bonus-point victory.

Smith has appeared as an “apprentice” in previous senior England squads, before helping the under-20s to this summer’s Junior World Championship final.

The precociously-talented teenager has big ambitions for his career, but remains adamant he will have to earn England boss Jones’ interest through consistency and graft.

“Obviously it’s every kid’s dream to play for England, that’s my goal at the end of the day, but I need to let my performances do the talking here and hopefully get Eddie (Jones) calling me – hopefully,” said Smith.

“My focus is here at Quins, that’s one game, I’ve done alright this game but there’s still a long way to go and like I said there’s a big test on Friday night (at Northampton) and hopefully I can carry the performance today and take it into next week along with the team.”

Owen Farrell, George Ford and Danny Cipriani – barring any influence on boss Jones’ thoughts from his arrest in Jersey – are England’s current frontline playmakers.

But Jones has long since admired Smith’s potential to develop into a top-level outside-half, and on Saturday’s evidence the young Quin is continuing his upward trajectory.

England lost the summer’s Junior World Championship final 33-25 to hosts France, but Smith starred in that tournament – and feels it has proved beneficial as he embarks on his second season as a senior pro.

“I learned a lot from that under-20s experience,” said Smith.

“I learned how to take control and try and lead a team, and I tried to take what I learned from the seniors experience into that World Cup. Unfortunately we fell at the last hurdle but I really enjoyed that experience.”

Debutant Ben Tapuai bagged two tries in Saturday’s Sale win, with Smith then hailing the Wallabies centre for easing the playmaking burden.

And Smith also believes new Quins boss Gustard can have a big impact on the Londoners, who struggled en route to an 11th place league finish last term.

Smith is developing a good relationship with Ben Tapuai

“He’s brought a lot of energy, Gussy’s very enthusiastic at what he does, and I think it feeds well onto the group,” said Smith, of Gustard.

“I hope you saw there we were all energised for the full 80 and that’s something we hope to bring for the rest of the season.

“Obviously I want to add a bit of control to my game. I love playing with the ball in hand and I’ll just try to give and go there.

“Taps (Ben Tapuai) has got a lot of experience, played for the Wallabies a lot of times so having him outside, bouncing ideas off him and trying to learn off him as well is really good and really helpful.

“He gives me the information, so if he sees they’re short and he wants the ball early I’ll try and communicate to Danny (Care) to get the ball early to him and unleash our backs.

“He’s just a second pair of eyes that help me try and manage the game.”

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Harlequins Marcus Smith Paul Gustard premiership Sale Sharks The Stoop