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Eddie Jones has told Marcus Smith to ignore the hype and put in the hard graft to build a lasting Test career with England.
Smith capped a month of mayhem by earning a British and Irish Lions call-up midway through spearheading England’s 70-14 rout of Canada at Twickenham.
The 22-year-old was the last person in west London to learn of his call-up, finding out when leaving the field with 15 minutes to play on Saturday.
Smith has jumped from Harlequins’ shock Gallagher Premiership title victory to his maiden two England caps – and has now flown out to South Africa to join the Lions.
Head coach Jones hailed Smith’s productive fortnight in England colours, then mapped out his route to the game’s very summit.
“He’s got all the attributes to be a very good 10 at Test level, but now it’s about whether he can develop his game, keep working hard and keep his feet on the ground,” said Jones.
“He’s got a very good attitude and great desire to keep working. If he doesn’t believe everything that’s written about him he’ll be alright.
“He’s coachable. He’s got good fundamental skills – he can catch square, pass accurately, he’s got a reasonable kicking game and his goal-kicking as we saw today is first class.”
Jamie Blamire and Adam Radwan bagged hat-tricks, with Joe Cokanasiga claiming a brace and Ellis Genge also crossing in addition to a penalty try in England’s hefty win over Canada.
Ross Braude and Kainoa Lloyd claimed tries for the outclassed Canadians, with England improving on last weekend’s 43-29 win over the USA.
Smith shot a perfect nine from nine attempts at goal to add to a virtuoso attacking display that underscored his vast array of talents.
The livewire playmaker became England’s 13th Lions tourist midway through the Canada encounter and has even had to forego a ticket for Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.
Jones admitted to being impressed by Smith’s abilities but insisted he must now match his talent with hard work in order to carve out an extended Test career.
“If it was easy every talented kid would do it – as we saw with Dan Carter, he was at his best at 35 at the 2015 World Cup, so he’s still got a long way to go at 22,” said Jones.
“There is a lot of development to go in his game – but we are certainly pleased with what we saw.
“We got info last night that he was going. We felt in the best interest that we were going to inform him after the game but our best laid plans got shot apart a bit.
“We’re pleased for him, it’s a great learning opportunity for him, he’ll play with some good players against some good teams in South Africa. It will aid his education process and speed it up a bit.”
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