Marcus Smith’s recall in Six Nations 2023 adds intrigue as England takes on France.
The match between England and France is not dubbed “Le Crunch” by accident.
Both teams must avoid defeat in the 2023 edition of this heated rivalry between these two northern hemisphere rugby powers in order to continue challenging for the Six Nations championship.
The defending champions France are the favorites to end their 18-year winless streak at Twickenham, but England supporters may be bouncing into Headquarters on Saturday.
Only one change was made to the team that defeated Wales in their previous match by Steve Borthwick, but it was a “brilliant choice,” according to World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward.
the thrilling Marcus Smith, who replaces captain Owen Farrell at fly-half, is charged with adding attacking flair.
Smith started the loss to Scotland, while Farrell was placed at inside center, but they were unable to ignite the match.
Rugby Union Daily: Smith is given control of No. 10
As England looks to the future, Smith has the opportunity to excel.
Since then, it has been expected that Farrell’s pragmatism will guide the team, but despite triumphs over Italy and Wales, Smith has been called back to the starting XV after shining on club duty last weekend.
Ollie Lawrence at position 12 should be able to help the Harlequins star play to his strengths because of his physicality and strong running lines, while Smith can penetrate any defense with his acceleration and dead-eye distribution.
“Farrell’s bench experience is priceless”
Farrell, who has 104 caps to his name, will be disappointed not to start against Les Blues, but according to Borthwick, the 31-year-old will have a crucial role to play off the bench.
No less is anticipated from France and their talisman, Antoine Dupont.
The France captain claimed that Smith is a player who appreciates the offensive style of play and is excellent one-on-one.
“Having Farrell’s experience on the bench is invaluable even though he may not have as much control over the game as Farrell does. It’s a significant asset.
“At this level, the closing few minutes of the game are crucial, so it’s excellent for them that Farrell came off the bench.
“One player’s performance does not alter the team’s overall strategy. Smith and Farrell are both capable of adhering to the demands made of them by the coach and the team.
“We anticipate that they will favor the kicking game since they like to exert pressure on their opponent.
“Smith is perhaps more dangerous than Farrell because he knows how to do it. Farrell is more effective on defense. Despite having diverse personalities, they can work well together in the long run.”
On Saturday, Owen Farrell will start on the bench and address his England teammates.
Genge will captain England in place of Farrell.
Ellis Genge benefits from Farrell’s early absence in addition to Smith.
No one is happier than England forwards coach Richard Cockerill that the prop will captain the team against France after being elevated from vice-captain.
When asked if he anticipated Genge’s development from a gifted youngster to England captain, Cockerill, who acquired the prop while serving as the head coach of the Leicester Tigers, responded: “He was a young player who was very aggressive and had a lot of natural talent; all he needed was some direction on how to use it.
The transformation of Genge into an England captain
Cockerill laughed and added, “I probably was just delighted to keep him out of trouble at that point.
“Ellis has done a great job of maturing and growing. He has put a lot of effort into improving himself both on and off the field, and he has grown into a superb player and person.”
After the tournament, Cockerill will quit the England team to become the forwards coach at French team Montpellier. He says Saturday’s encounter will provide his present team a chance to test themselves against a potent pack.
He remarked, “I adore the rawness and intensity of French rugby. “They enjoy their forward play, not that the English don’t do, but having played there myself, I find that appealing.
“We are aware of the physical qualities they contribute; they are a large team. They are a really excellent tactical squad, but we like to think that we are a physically strong side as well, so it’s a wonderful chance for us to test our set-piece.
“When necessary, we’ll need to be forceful; other times, we’ll need to be really intelligent.
We hope there will be some of that and maybe it won’t be as dirty as when I played because the French have a wonderful love for the game and they view the forward battle as a game in and of itself.
French efforts to break the Twickenham curse
France is the second-ranked team in the world after winning the Grand Slam the previous year.
In 2022, Fabien Galthie’s team went undefeated, and they come to Twickenham having dropped just one of their previous 16 Test matches.
On Saturday, they’ll aim to stop one unwelcome record, though. Since 2005, France has not defeated England on the road in the Six Nations.
Six Nations desk
Bonus-point victories, or unblemished records, are required for both teams to maintain their title claims. Ireland needs all five points to win the Six Nations championship in Edinburgh.
Both teams’ challenges will finish in defeat, but if Scotland can upset the top-ranked team in the world, they will also have a chance to win on the final day.