Get to know English rugby's rising star and Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith
Age 18 (14 Feb 1999) Born Manila Club Harlequins Country England Position Fly-half
You were born in the Philippines…
I lived there for seven years, then we moved to Singapore, where I played for Centaurs rugby club. My dad got me into it – he used to play rugby – and as soon as I rocked up one Saturday morning I really enjoyed it.
We moved back to England when I was 13. I played at Brighton College Prep School for a year and one of my coaches put me in contact with a Harlequins coach from Sussex. I had a trial at 14 and have been involved with them ever since.
Have you always played fly-half?
I started off at scrum-half because I was a bit smaller. Then I moved to fly-half when I was 15 or 16, and it’s my favourite position. You get the ball a lot and you get to run, kick and pass, so you get to do all three things, which I like.
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Who are your heroes?
When I was younger it was Jonny Wilkinson, the hero of every child in England, especially after the 2003 World Cup. I do remember watching it with my dad (Marcus would have been four) and we’ve watched it about 100 times since.
How much of a shock was it to be called into the England training squad? It was unreal. I got off the plane from Quins’ camp in Germany and my phone started going off. I had eight missed calls from my dad so I knew something was up. I rang him and he was just so proud of me.
It was a great experience. I’d gone in May for a couple of sessions when they were in Brighton too. Just the quality of coaching and quality of players England have at the moment is unbelievable. And the standards are so high – that’s what you notice. It’s a very player-led environment too. At first I was quite in awe of all the players but Eddie (Jones) just told me to be myself and that age is just a number.
What are your goals for this season?
I’m focused on Quins and trying to put my best foot forward, keep working hard. Then we’ll see what happens.
What do you do away from rugby?
I like watching films and TV shows or playing a bit of PS4 like most teenagers. I’ve also applied for deferred entry to Surrey University to do business and politics. So this year I’m fully focused on rugby and then come 2018 I’ll do both uni and rugby.
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RW Verdict: Eddie Jones clearly sees potential in this teenage ten, who captained Brighton College to an unbeaten season last term and has played England U16, U18 and U20. With Nick Evans coaching him at Quins, too, expect big things.
This article first appeared in the October 2017 issue of Rugby World.