Michael Lynagh: Why Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell are in a difficult position ahead of Australia Test | Rugby Union News


Michael Lynagh on how England must use Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell against Australia; watch all 14 summer tour fixtures exclusively live on Sky Sports as England tour Australia, Ireland play the All Blacks, Wales face the Springboks and Scotland head to Argentina

Last Updated: 29/06/22 1:47pm

Michael Lynagh believes it will be a much-improved England when they take on Australia in the first Test in Perth on Saturday.

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Michael Lynagh believes it will be a much-improved England when they take on Australia in the first Test in Perth on Saturday.

Michael Lynagh believes it will be a much-improved England when they take on Australia in the first Test in Perth on Saturday.

Michael Lynagh says Marcus Smith must be allowed to run the game when England take on Australia in the opening Test on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

Key playmakers Smith and Owen Farrell will be the centre of attention if, as is widely anticipated, they are paired at fly-half and inside centre.

And accommodating both could be a delicate balance, according to Australia’s former World Cup-winning No 10 Lynagh.

“I think it’s looking more like Marcus Smith will be 10 and Owen Farrell will be 12 and that’s a really interesting combination. They’re both great players but they’re both 10s and they’re both playmakers so it’s going to be an interesting combination,” Lynagh told Sky Sports News.

“Particularly as Owen’s used to being captain, and even when he hasn’t got the captain’s armband he runs the game, which is what Marcus does at 10. That’s normally what 10s do.

“It becomes very difficult for a 10, particularly a junior partner in that sort of partnership where you’re hearing calls being made from somewhere else and you then have to carry them through. It’s not your calls and it’s not you running the game. So it’s actually a difficult position to be in.

Marcus Smith is a young player but in a leadership position.

Marcus Smith is a young player but in a leadership position.

“Marcus might not have the captaincy on his armband but they’ve got to let him run the game and Owen’s got to fit into that. And I’m sure he’s such a great team man and such a competitor that whatever it takes for England to do well, he’ll fit into that.”

Lynagh also backed Courtney Lawes to be selected as England captain.

“Courtney Lawes did a great job in Owen’s absence so I’m expecting it to be Courtney Lawes on the field,” he said.

But Lynagh added: “It doesn’t really matter who’s the captain on the field. Owen and particularly Marcus Smith at 10, they tend to run the game. Courtney makes the decision which direction to run and keep the forwards going in the right direction etc. and whether to kick for goal or touch – those sort of things – but in consultation with his two 10s, whether they’re playing at 10 or 12.”

How Owen Farrell balances a partnership with Marcus Smith could be key.

How Owen Farrell balances a partnership with Marcus Smith could be key.

Coming off a loss to a Barbarians side at Twickenham heaps further pressure on England.

“The last time they were out, it wasn’t too great, the Barbarians game at Twickenham and even though Eddie Jones said it was a bit of a fun match, it couldn’t have been too much fun for the England team on the pitch,” Lynagh said.

“They looked a little bit tired to me. I think they’d had a big week training, probably not a lot of practising together. That’s all over now. They’ve had a full season as well in the Premiership so they’re well ready, well fit and well to play.

“I’m looking for a much improved performance from last week for the England team.”

England's Jack Nowell says the team are gelling well together and is remaining positive ahead of the first Test against Australia.

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England’s Jack Nowell says the team are gelling well together and is remaining positive ahead of the first Test against Australia.

England’s Jack Nowell says the team are gelling well together and is remaining positive ahead of the first Test against Australia.

That’s precisely what Jack Nowell predicts from inside the England camp. “Past experiences are ones that we can pick up from but they’re not going to win us the games. The good thing with this England team is that we do want to win every game,” he said.

“We’re a team that wants to get better and we’re a team that wants to come out here and win every single game. We’re doing the right things at the moment, training’s been tough but it’s been good. I feel like we’re gelling together as a team pretty well as well so hopefully these are all things that will add towards our first test.”

Bumper weekend of rugby on Sky Sports

Saturday, July 2

New Zealand vs Ireland – live on Sky Sports Action from 7:30am (kick-off at 8:05am)

Australia vs England – live on Sky Sports Action from 10:15am (kick-off at 10:55am)

South Africa vs Wales – live on Sky Sports Action from 3:30pm (kick-off at 4:05pm)

Argentina vs Scotland – live on Sky Sports Action from 7:30pm (kick-off at 8:10pm)





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