It was pretty much a given that, once discarded from the England squad, Marcus Smith would showcase his talent in the Big Game 14 clash against Exeter Chiefs yesterday.
He was man of the match in an emphatic Quins win of 40-5.
Quins reversed their losing sequence of 5 defeats in some style.
Danny Care’s card-sharp hands caused Exeter problems all game; the Quins pack, with Tom Lawday outstanding in the back row, but Joe Marler and Stephan Lewies also highly effective more than held their own against traditionally a pack of heft which, whilst lacking Cowan-Dickie, still had Sam Simmonds.
Behind the Quins pack, two other rejects from the England squad – Joe Marchant and Cadan Murley – played with brio.
Quins scored some scintillating tries and none better than when Marcus Smith chipped with the outside of the boot into space, Andre Esterhuizen caught the bounce and offloaded to Cadan Murley who showed Exeter a clean pair of heels to score.
At almost exactly the same time next week in Twickenham it’s ‘Le Crunch ‘ between England and France.
I hope it’s a case of ABF – “anyone but Owen Farrell”.
His kicking is no longer reliable; he is no centre and therefore does not resolve England’s perennial problems in that position; he is the poster boy of the little-lamented late Eddie Jones regime ; there seems a surly arrogance and sense of entitlement.
It’s likely to be Steve Borthwick’s ex-fly half at Leicester Tigers – George Ford – who starts but I hope Marcus gets on at some stage.