He’s an absolute beast – Marcus Smith cannot wait to link up with Manu Tuilagi

Marcus Smith is relishing the opportunity to benefit from the “fear factor” created by Manu Tuilagi rather than having to stop the destructive England centre.

The pair are set to be reunited in the midfield when Argentina visit Twickenham on Sunday after starting two Tests together last autumn.

Tuilagi’s injury curse prevented him from playing in the Six Nations or the July tour to Australia but now back firing for Sale, he is ready to serve as the backline’s main carrier once more.

A week ago Tuilagi and Smith faced off on opposite teams when Harlequins engineered an emphatic win in Manchester and the 23-year-old fly-half welcomes the adjustment from enemies to allies.

Manu Tuilagi is fit for England's autumn opener against Argentina
Manu Tuilagi is fit for England’s autumn opener against Argentina (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“First and foremost, Manu is a brilliant bloke. He’s always looked after me ever since I was young,” Smith said.

“He makes me feel very comfortable and like I can be myself and I love that about him.

“On the field, he’s an absolute beast. He’s a freak with the ball in hand, he’s got brilliant hands at the line and he bangs pretty hard in defence.

“It’s lovely to look outside and know he’s there because he’s always got my back, which is pretty special.

“He adds a fear factor to our team. I know that because when I play him I get that!”

Smith has overseen England’s attacking preparations for the autumn after Owen Farrell was stood down for 12 days because of the concussion that forced him to miss last week’s training camp in Jersey.

Farrell has still had an influence on work behind the scenes, however.

“Owen’s a brilliant player and he’s been in form at the start of the season,” Smith said.

“He’s got 97 caps and he’s been a massive loss so we’ve had to be adaptable. We’ve all had to step up in our leadership and speak a bit more.

“I texted him a few times and the backs had a Zoom with him in Jersey when we could bat some ideas off him.

“We communicated with him because we feel like he can spot things and add things that we may have missed from being in the thick of it.”