Berliner Tageblatt - England fly-half Smith glad of Biggar backing on Lions tour

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England fly-half Smith glad of Biggar backing on Lions tour
England fly-half Smith glad of Biggar backing on Lions tour / Photo: ©

England fly-half Smith glad of Biggar backing on Lions tour

England fly-half Marcus Smith says he learned valuable lessons from Dan Biggar during last year's British and Irish Lions tour as he prepares to go head to head with the Wales stand-off in the Six Nations.

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Smith is set to face the Wales captain for the first time on the international stage on February 26, with both teams having won one game and lost one in this year's tournament so far.

Fellow fly-half Biggar was a reassuring figure for the 23-year-old Smith when England's rising star was called up as a late addition to the Lions squad, which toured South Africa last July and August.

Becoming a Lion capped a memorable few months for Smith, who had only just won his first two England caps.

"Dan was very accommodating and very welcoming," he said. "He brought me up to speed with the playbook quickly and the way they wanted to play out there.

"He always greeted me with a smile on his face and we worked really closely together with our kicking and I learned a lot about the game from him, Finn Russell and Owen (Farrell) as well."

Smith, who steered Harlequins to the English Premiership title last season, has looked increasingly at home on the international stage and is preparing for the game at Twickenham after starring in England's 33-0 rout of Italy in Rome.

He could have Manu Tuilagi outside him in England's back division against Wales after the centre was called into Eddie Jones's training squad following hamstring surgery.

Tuilagi's career has been blighted by injury but at his best the powerhouse midfielder provides an additional cutting edge.

"Manu's a brilliant player," said Smith. "Even when I was very young I used to watch him play and I even watched his first try at Twickenham, which was quite special -- the dummy switch with Jonny Wilkinson.

"To be able to play with him is special. I played one or two games with him in the autumn. It's brilliant to have him back in camp. He's a ball of energy and all the boys love him."

England are second in the Six Nations table, with unbeaten France the only side who can win a Grand Slam this season.

J.Bergmann--BTB