Ex-Bok Robbie Fleck addresses previous criticism of Marcus Smith

Despite only playing two matches in the Guinness Six Nations, both from the bench, Marcus Smith had some standout moments in the tournament.

From his match-winning drop-goal against Ireland to his try against France, the 25-year-old made an undeniable impact as a substitute.

After watching England put in three uninspiring performances in the opening three rounds while he was out with a calf injury, the Harlequin would have wanted to show what an asset he is to England on his return, while also making a statement to some of his critics, one of which was former South Africa centre Robbie Fleck.

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Fleck had said on RPTV’s Boks Office before England’s win over Ireland that he did not think the fly-half was the “answer” for England.

Two matches later, and two vastly improved performances by England later, Fleck returned to Boks Office and addressed those comments.

Match Summary

The 31-cap Bok qualified his statement that Smith was not the answer for England by saying he was not the answer in their style at the beginning of the Championship. He still, however, believes George Ford deserves to start for England in the No10 jersey, but said that Smith “proved his worth” from the bench.

With that said, despite playing the majority of the match against France at fullback after replacing George Furbank early in the game, neither Fleck, nor fellow Springbok Schalk Burger, see Smith as a viable starter at fullback for England moving forward.

“I still say that while England were going through a transition in style of play, was he the right choice as a starting No10? The answer is no,” Fleck said.

“But he has certainly improved his worth coming off the bench. When he came on against Ireland, he just added so much flavour to the set-up. The Irish allowed him to attack.

“The drop-goal at the end, any fly-half worth his salt should have done that. But he had those subtle little changes in pace and he did one little short ball to a loose forward and he wrapped around and got into space and that put Ireland on the back foot.

“The time and space that he was given by the French was just too much and that’s when he starts to dominate.

“I think he’s fulfilling his role coming off the bench. But as a starter, George Ford for me was outstanding. This whole series he’s been brilliant.

“But Marcus Smith has proven his worth coming off the bench and changing the game.”


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