Young gun Marcus Smith is excited by the prospect of combining with veteran Owen Farrell as England’s twin playmakers against the Wallabies.
Eddie Jones is likely to entrust Smith and Farrell with the keys to England’s attack in the rugby Test series opener at Perth’s Optus Stadium next Saturday.
Farrell, who has amassed 94 Test caps since his debut in 2012, is expected to be picked at inside centre with the brilliant Smith having become Jones’ first choice at five eighth since his debut last year.
It was a creative axis seen only for 68 minutes against the touring Wallabies in the autumn and while it showed promise, successive ankle injuries affected Farrell’s season.
Now working in tandem as part of England’s squad Down Under, Smith is enjoying the chance join forces once again.
“Owen’s a brilliant player. I loved playing with him in the autumn,” said 23-year-old Smith.
“He’s a massive competitor and wears his heart on his sleeve. More than that, he’s got brilliant vision and skills at the line.
“We trained together a couple of weeks ago and I really enjoyed it. I’ve loved learning off him and bouncing ideas off him.
“We complement each other nicely – we both see the game pretty similarly.
“Hopefully I can be there to get the best out of him and allow him to show his skills on the park. Hopefully he can also allow me to show the best of me.
“Hopefully we can put our competitive edge together to try and get a Test series win. Both of us want to do that. We’ve spoken long and hard about it.”
Smithis embarking on his first senior England tour a year after breaking into the team and despite his rookie status, he understands what is at stake against the Wallabies.
“The England and Australia rivalry is obviously huge, not just in rugby but in cricket and all other sports,” Smith said.
“My dad instilled in me as a young kid that there is a lot of rivalry and confrontation in those games.
“I remember when I was younger in the Philippines, my grandparents lived in England.
“We grew up in the Philippines and my step grandad actually flew over from England to watch the Ashes.
“He watched all five Test matches in a pub called The Heckle and Jeckle in Manila. I don’t know what my dad was doing, but he was missing work to watch it too with the time zone!
“It’s been instilled in me and my two younger brothers for a long time. Mum has had to buy in as well! It’s one of those rivalries you want to be a part of.”