Eddie Jones on Marcus Smith: “There’s no ceiling to how good he can be. If he keeps on wanting to get better and keeps having a learning mindset, then he could be an outstanding player at Test level by the World Cup. That’s obviously pretty important, to have a good 10”
Last Updated: 13/02/22 8:10pm
Eddie Jones described Marcus Smith’s potential as limitless after watching the playmaker lead England to a 33-0 Six Nations win over Italy.
Smith ran in a well-worked try and set up two others to claim the man-of-the-match award as England bounced back from their narrow defeat by Scotland in round one.
The 22-year-old also beat six defenders – the most by an England fly-half since Jonny Wilkinson in 2002 – to continue his impressive start to a Test career that still only numbers six caps.
“There’s no ceiling to how good he can be,” head coach Jones said post-victory vs Italy.
“If he keeps on wanting to get better and keeps having a learning mindset, then he could be an outstanding player at Test level by the World Cup. That’s obviously pretty important, to have a good 10.
“The forwards definitely went forward and that created opportunities for Marcus. We were very intentful with how we wanted to play. That also helped him.”
England offered a possible glimpse of their long-term future at half-back as Smith formed a creative partnership with Harry Randall that left its mark on the Azzurri.
“They made a really good start,” Jones added. “There was a lot of pace on the ball early, the ruck ball was really quick and they combined nicely.
“Marcus took the ball to the line really well in patches. And Harry added that little bit of zip zip.
“Nine and 10 are about being brilliant at the basics, about doing the simple things really well over and over again.”
England engineered five tries in a victory that had some of the shine removed by Italy’s control of the last half-hour, although they rarely threatened to produce anything meaningful from their superior territory and possession.
“You always want more. You always want a few more sparklers, a few more rockets,” Jones said.
“But we went out with the strong intent of taking the game to Italy and not allowing them into the game.
“I think we did that but we’d have liked to have finished a few more of the rockets at the end that we didn’t get.”