TOBY FLOOD: George Ford is premiership top 10 in form; he just HAS to be called back to the England team as a backup for Marcus Smith before the Australia clash.
- Marcus Smith should definitely start as a fly-half for England against Australia
- However, Eddie Jones should bring in George Ford in the probable absence of Owen Farrell.
- George Furbank played well against Tonga, but he’s not a natural fly-half
- Even if his role is to sit on the bench, Ford needs to be back in the national fold.
There is no question that Marcus Smith should start against Australia next week, but I think England should seriously consider bringing in George Ford to help him.
I’m surprised Smith hasn’t been given the number 10 jersey from the start against Tonga on Saturday, but I was very impressed with the way he controlled the game and orchestrated things once he came in.
It has something a little different to Ford and Owen Farrell. He played a lot of mannequin swings in the back, moving sideways across the field where George and Owen like to play a little more square.
There is no question that Marcus Smith should start against Australia next week for England.
But I think England should seriously consider bringing in George Ford to help him
We still don’t know where Smith’s roof is. The only thing that works against him internationally is his size, but he has the potential to be the best in the world. He is still learning his trade and so now is the time to start it, because there is nothing to lose. There is no trophy at stake.
If Farrell has to isolate himself for 10 days with Covid, Ford simply has to be on the team, even if his role is to sit on the bench.
He’s the Premiership’s best No. 10 in shape. If it were a World Cup final tomorrow, you’d start with Ford because you know what it’s about. In two years that could be very different if Marcus continues to improve at the current rate.
Leicester fly-half Ford simply has to be on the team, even if their role is to sit on the bench
Of course, Ford will be frustrated with the current situation, but that will not affect its operation in a team environment if it enters. Ford will talk to Smith and help him. I think they will work well together.
Saturday was a real feather in George Furbank’s cap, but it’s not your 10. Everyone remembers his difficult debut against France a couple of years ago, but he has shown that he can complete at 10, 12, 15 or on the wing.
That versatility could be a really valuable asset at the World Cup.
Saturday was a real feather in George Furbank’s cap – his versatility could be a real bonus.
Next week will be a much tougher challenge, of course. The Wallabies will bring a different level of performance than Tonga. I would have loved that Tonga would have made England uncomfortable, but they never did.
Australia has improved beyond recognition in the last eight or nine months.
Now they are playing exceptional rugby, so England need to have their best players available.