Smith’s painful lesson and ‘hybrid’ England contracts – 3 rugby talking points

The great problem with a solo audition for a starring role on the London stage is when you are merely a part of a losing ensemble.

Since Owen Farrell has withdrawn from international rugby, Marcus Smith expects to take back the No. 10 jersey for England. However, on Sunday, Toulouse humiliated the Harlequins fly-half 47-19 in the Champions Cup.

Quins was destroyed by an incredible all-court showing from the French squad, despite a couple of obvious kicking blunders from Smith (mishitting a penalty kick to send it dead and overcooking another punt for territory). Toulouse has won two bonus points to start the Champions Cup, outscoring their opponents 99 to 26.

Following France’s heartbreaking exit from the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals, and even though Dupont will take an unusual break in February and March to play sevens in preparation for his participation in the Paris Olympics next summer, Les Bleus should be a force again in the Six Nations.

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