Marcus Smith has been given a significant opportunity to solidify his position as England’s future No. 10, with Steve Borthwick making an early team announcement ahead of the match against Japan. This move was seen as a strategic move to avoid any mind games from Eddie Jones, who is currently with the squad in Miyazaki, Japan.

In this early team selection, Marcus Smith is set to start as the fly-half, replacing Owen Farrell and George Ford who are unavailable for different reasons. This decision marks a significant moment for Smith, who has been in the shadow of the two experienced players for the past four years.

Additionally, other changes in the team include Immanuel Feyi-Waboso returning to the side after missing the Six Nations match against France due to a head injury. Sale Sharks loosehead prop Bevan Rodd is set to replace Ellis Genge, who is out with an ankle injury. Chandler Cunningham-South will make his first start for England on the blindside flank, showcasing the depth and talent available in the squad.

The selection of this team not only aims to secure a win against Japan but also lays the groundwork for future matches, especially the upcoming tests against New Zealand. By maintaining consistency in selection and giving younger players like Marcus Smith a chance to shine, Steve Borthwick is setting the stage for a strong and cohesive England team.

The inclusion of players like George Furbank, Tommy Freeman, and Alex Mitchell from Northampton’s title-winning side adds experience and skill to the team. The balance between seasoned players and emerging talents like Fin Smith, who will provide cover from the bench, shows the depth and versatility of England’s squad.

Overall, this early team announcement and the selection of Marcus Smith as the starting fly-half signals a new era for England rugby, with a focus on building a competitive team for the challenges ahead. The stage is set for an exciting match against Japan and a promising future for English rugby under Steve Borthwick’s leadership.