The young opening half Marcus Smith, expected successor to Owen Farrell as No.10, is out of the first match of the Six Nations Tournament on Saturday in Italy, the management of the England team announced on Tuesday . The Harlequins player injured his calf during the training camp and will have to miss the trip on Saturday (3:45 p.m.) to Rome, where his start was expected.
“Marcus will unfortunately not be available this weekend,” XV de la Rose assistant coach Kevin Sinfield told reporters. The management must still study the results of the medical examinations carried out in order to “understand exactly what this means for the future” but, in any case, “he is not fit to play this weekend”, he said. -he adds. At 24, Smith was expected to take over at the opening from Owen Farrell, voluntarily withdrawing from the selection and leaving for Racing 92 in the Top 14, which makes him de facto ineligible for the English selection.
He was injured Monday in training, “at the start of the session,” said Kevin Sinfield. “We feel sorry for him because it was great working with him and we hope it doesn’t last too long.” This package is a new blow for Steve Borthwick, already forced to do without Ollie Lawrence and Manu Tuilagi, injured, nor Courtney Lawes who has retired from international duty.
In the absence of Smith, the England coach will have to choose between the very young Fin Smith, 21 years old and no caps, or the more experienced George Ford, 30 years old and 91 caps. England are due to announce their starting XV and replacements against Italy on Thursday.