Former boss Eddie Jones says Marcus Smith is not a Test full-back and must play No 10 for England after Steve Borthwick experimented with the fly-half in an unfamiliar role at World Cup
- Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith was given his Test debut by Eddie Jones
- Smith started in the No 15 shirt in World Cup games with Fiji and Argentina
- Jones is in Cardiff ahead of coaching the Barbarians against Wales on Saturday
Eddie Jones sent a strong message to his England head coach successor Steve Borthwick, insisting Marcus Smith is not an international full-back.
Smith – a fly-half by trade who was given his Test debut by Jones – started in the No 15 shirt in England’s World Cup knock-out games with Fiji and Argentina.
Borthwick’s side finished third in France, but Jones believes for Smith and England to continue to develop, he must be picked as a primary playmaker.
‘Marcus is 24. He has got a lot of learning to do, but unless he plays he never gets that learning,’ said Jones, speaking in Cardiff ahead of coaching the Barbarians against Wales on Saturday.
‘At some stage you have got to take a bit of pain if you play a guy like him. He is a good player, a very good player, but he is not a full-back.
Marcus Smith started in the No 15 shirt in England’s World Cup games with Fiji and Argentina
‘That is up to Steve but if you want to develop him as a player of course he has got to play 10.’
Speaking to the Up Front with Simon Jordan podcast, Jones added of Smith: ‘He is reasonably good at club level. He’s not a superstar yet. He’s a promising young player.
‘At Test level, these instinctive players take time to mature. I think we’ll see over the next two years whether or not Marcus has what it takes to go as far as his potential suggests he can.
‘These will be the most formative years of his rugby life if he can stick at it and not end up going to play overseas.’
Smith was targeted physically and in the air while playing 15 at the World Cup, but he showed impressive bottle and no little courage. He also set up a try for Ben Earl against Argentina.
But he is a No 10 for his club Harlequins and wants to play there for England too. Captain Owen Farrell is Borthwick’s first choice fly-half but will be 36 by the next World Cup.
After controversially quitting his Australia role after the Wallabies flopped in France, Jones reiterated he had no regrets over his exit less than 12 months into a five-year deal.
Eddie Jones sent a strong message to his successor as England head coach Steve Borthwick
He also ruled himself out of coaching the British & Irish Lions against Australia in 2025. Jones is expected to join Japan in the coming months but refused to confirm if that was the case.
‘I had my go with England, I loved coaching England, but I wouldn’t want to be involved in the Lions – not at all,’ Jones said.
After leaving Australia, Jones declared: ‘Sometimes you have to eat s*** for others to eat caviar.’
His comments and use of language saw him widely criticised, with MailSport columnist and England’s World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward describing them as ‘pathetic’ and ‘embarrassing.’ Jones responded: ‘Why should I have any regrets? I don’t have any regrets. I don’t really care.
‘The disappointing thing for me was I had a vision about what needed to be done (with Australia) and the two parties weren’t able to come to an agreement.
‘I don’t want to work for someone like that again because it’s so hard.’
Jones hasn’t always been popular in Cardiff as a former England coach, but he posed for pictures with rugby fans and signed autographs in the Welsh capital on Wednesday.
Jones in Cardiff on Wednesday ahead of coaching the Barbarians against Wales on Saturday
He will go up against Wales head coach Warren Gatland once again on Saturday, this time with the Barbarians in a game to honour Alun Wyn Jones.
Former Wales captain Jones will captain the Barbarians against the country of his birth.
Eddie Jones said: ‘I was having breakfast in a cafe in Cardiff with my wife and she said: “The Welsh people are nice to you, aren’t they?”
‘Maybe it’s because I’m not coaching England!’
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