TOBY FLOOD: Ford is the best No 10 on form – he HAS to be called up

TOBY FLOOD: George Ford is the best No 10 in the Premiership on form – he simply HAS to be called back into the England squad as back-up to Marcus Smith ahead of Australia clash

  • Marcus Smith should definitely start at fly-half for England against Australia 
  • Yet Eddie Jones should bring in George Ford in Owen Farrell’s likely absence 
  • George Furbank played well against Tonga – but he is 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 out.

I’m surprised Smith wasn’t given the No 10 shirt from the start against Tonga on Saturday, but I was really impressed by how he controlled the game and orchestrated things once he came on.

He’s got something a bit different from Ford and Owen Farrell. He played a lot of dummy switches out the back, moving laterally across the pitch where George and Owen like to play a bit squarer.

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 out

We don’t know yet where Smith’s ceiling is. The one thing that works against him at international level is his size, but he has the potential to be the best in the world. He is still learning his trade and that’s why now is the time to start him, because there’s nothing to lose. There’s no trophy on the line.

If Farrell has to isolate for 10 days with Covid, Ford simply has to be in the squad, even if his role is to sit on the bench.

He is the best No 10 in the Premiership on form. If it were a World Cup final tomorrow, you would start Ford because you know what he’s about. In two years that could be very different if Marcus keeps improving at his current rate.

Leicester fly-half Ford simply has to be in the squad, even if his role is to sit on the bench

Of course, Ford will be frustrated with the current situation, but that won’t detract from how he operates in a team environment if he comes in. Ford will talk to Smith and help him. I think they’ll work well together.

Saturday was a real feather in George Furbank’s cap, but he’s not your starting 10. Everyone remembers his difficult debut against France a couple of years ago, but he’s shown that he can fill in at 10, 12, 15 or wing. 

That versatility could be a really valuable asset come the World Cup.

Saturday was a real feather in George Furbank’s cap – his versatility could be a real asset 

Next week will be a far tougher challenge, of course. The Wallabies will bring a different level of performance from Tonga. I would have loved Tonga to have made England feel uncomfortable, but they never did.

Australia have improved beyond recognition in the past eight or nine months.

They’re playing some exceptional rugby now, so England need to have their best players available.




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