Marcus Smith still has hope of facing France despite England omission, insists Harlequins head coach

Dropped: Marcus Smith  (Getty Images)
Dropped: Marcus Smith (Getty Images)

Harlequins head coach Tabai Matson has backed Marcus Smith to play his way into the England team to face France with a commanding performance for his club side this weekend.

Smith has been released by England for Quins duty in Saturday's Premiership clash with Exeter at Twickenham.

Steve Borthwick has drafted Sale fly-half George Ford into his 26-man squad ahead of Smith for a three-day England training camp this week. The England head coach insists that Smith can still contest selection for the next Six Nations clash against France — and Matson agrees.

"Marcus is in an England shirt because of what he's done at Quins, so the match on Saturday gives him the opportunity to say, 'remember me? I can do this differently'. He's come back to us with real energy, he wants to play well and he's already helped drive the gameplan."

Smith came off the bench in England's 20-10 win over Wales in Cardiff last Saturday, but only for 14 seconds, when the game was already won.

England have also released loan attack coach Nick Evans back to his Harlequins role for midweek training, and the former New Zealand fly-half could yet be allowed to coach in Saturday's Premiership clash against the Chiefs.