Scotland vs England: Breaking down the Finn Russell vs Marcus Smith fly-half battle

Scotland vs England: Breaking down the Finn Russell vs Marcus Smith fly-half battle

February 3, 2022

Fly-halves Marcus Smith and Finn Russell go head to head in Scotland’s Six Nations opener against England at Murrayfield

Scotland and England will resume international rugby’s oldest rivalry when they clash in the Guinness Six Nations at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Here we examine a key battle that will help shape the outcome as playmakers Finn Russell and Marcus Smith go head to head.

Finn Russell – Racing 92

Position: Fly-half

Age: 29

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Caps: 58

Debut: vs USA, 2014

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 13st 7lbs

Points: 201 (Tries 7)

The international game’s most creative fly-half, Russell has the individual brilliance to single-handedly take the opposition apart.

Transformed the Lions’ attacking game when he came on early in the decisive final Test against South Africa last summer. Has so much range to his kicking and passing games and stands flat to the line, enhancing his effectiveness in attack.

But, for all his skills, he can be prone to making costly errors on the occasion his instincts betray him.

Marcus Smith – Harlequins

Position: Fly-half

Age: 22

Caps: 5

Debut: vs USA, 2021

Height: 5’6”

Weight: 12st 9lbs

Points: 63 (Tries 2)

Described by England team-mate Ben Youngs as mirroring Russell in possessing a repertoire of big plays and the composure to execute them at the key moment, Smith fully justifies the hype that has accompanied his development.

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While his vision and attacking skills have always stood out, the greatest improvement has been in his game management. And despite his size, he is a fighter who keeps going until the final whistle.

Where he and Russell deviate significantly, however, is in experience. Smith proved in the autumn that he belongs at this level, the challenge now is to deliver on that consistently.

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