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Smith ‘loving every minute’ as England fly-half

Smith ‘loving every minute’ as England fly-half

Marcus Smith

Marcus Smith says he is learning a lot in the England number 10 jersey after England’s stunning 27-26 victory over South Africa on Saturday.

Smith played the full 80 minutes at Twickenham, kicking the winning penalty before sealing the victory by kicking the ball out in what was only his fifth cap.

The Harlequins fly-half has fast become one of England’s most exciting talents and combined with the likes of Freddie Steward and Raffi Quirke, appears to be set for a long Test career.

The 22-year-old, said: I’ve loved every minute of this series, coming in four weeks ago, with a challenge to play Tonga, Australia and South Africa was one I was definitely excited for myself.

“It was an absolute pleasure and honour to be here for the last four weeks, I’ve learnt a lot off all the players and coaches and to cap it off with three good wins at home in front of all our friends and family made it extra special.

“To kick the ball out today was amazing, to see everyone’s faces, so happy and celebrating was special and it makes me want it more and more.”

While Smith was highly influential in this Autumn Nations Series, succeeding with all 12 of his kicks at goal, he knows that he is far from the complete player, which his brothers Tomas and Luc like to remind him about.

He added: “It’s a massive honour to play for this team, it’s everything I’ve wanted, to play for England in big games here at Twickenham.

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“As I said it’s been a dream come true the last couple of weeks, but I know it’s just the start for me personally and for this group as well, it’s a journey I’m desperate to be on, and I’m excited about.

“My brothers are the ones that keep me grounded, even when I walked in there, my brothers were messaging me about that drop goal with laughing faces, so they’re the ones that will keep me grounded.”

Smith has also received plenty of advice from England head coach Eddie Jones, with the Australian insisting that Smith needs to keep his feet grounded and avoid distraction.

“It’s brilliant advice, I’m still a young player, I’ve only done a couple of years in professional rugby and I’ve loved every minute of it,” said Smith.

“I’ve been very grateful to have been put into many different experiences, both for Quins and being an apprentice in this environment, and I feel I’ve learnt a lot in both those experiences.

“Being my first proper campaign, it’s made me very desperate to get back here in the new year, so after this, I’ve got to get my feet back into Quins colours and playing the rugby that Quins want me to play, so that’s my next focus.”

The young fly-half was under no illusions that the number 10 jersey was his, with the likes of Owen Farrell and the in-form George Ford both vying for their places in the team.

When asked if he’s done enough to be selected to wear the 10 jersey at BT Murrayfield on 5 February, he replied: “It’s never enough, as I’ve said I’ve loved every minute playing in the 10 jersey and the 22 jersey.

Smith v SA

“As I’ve said I learnt loads off Owen (Farrell), George Furbank, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, all of those guys, Ben Youngs as well over the last couple of weeks has helped me massively and I’ll just use the next few days to recover some notes and come back firing for Quins.

Smith was one of a number of new players in the England set-up, with Jones making several changes two years out from the World Cup.

Smith said: “We said this was the start of new England, we’ve taken some bits from old England, and we’ve tried to adapt and develop as the game’s developed.

“We’ve made a start but it’s only a start, and all of us individually have been challenged to go away and improve as players, as people, and if we do that, we’ll give ourselves the best shot to be selected in the new year.

“If we’re lucky enough to be selected in the Six Nations we want to take the team forward, our responsibility and the team’s responsibility is to go away and enjoy tonight, because it’s not often you get three wins at home, and try to improve as a person and as a player.”

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