Jones takes shine off young half’s call-up

Eddie Jones has sought to diffuse the expectation gathering around England prospect Marcus Smith by insisting his duties will be limited to polishing George Ford’s boots.

Smith has been included in a training squad for the second time, featuring among the 33 players picked for a three-day camp in Oxford that will be the final gathering before preparations for the autumn series against Argentina, Jones’ native Australia and Samoa begin in earnest.

The 18-year-old Harlequins five-eighth has played only 196 minutes of Premiership rugby, but his 14-point haul while duelling Danny Cipriani in the first defeat of Wasps in Coventry on Sunday was evidence of his enormous potential.

Eager to play down Smith’s role during the three-day training camp, Jones joked that he will be confined to low-key tasks that include cleaning the boots of first-choice No.10 Ford.

“Marcus Smith is going to be holding a lot of bags. He’s an apprentice. He’ll clean some boots and hold some bags,” Jones said.

“We’re sure he’ll do that well. He went to a good public school so he’s well educated to do that. He’s an apprentice and he’s come to learn about the game, so don’t get too excited.

“At this stage he’s fifth-choice No.10 so I’m sure he’s going to be good at shining George Ford’s boots. To move up, he needs to be a good shiner.”

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