England back Marcus Smith at fly-half as starting XV named for Test against Japan

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  • Emerging playmaker Fin Smith to start as a replacement on Saturday
  • Head coach Steve Borthwick picks starting XV for clash in Tokyo

England have preferred Marcus Smith to the fast-emerging Fin Smith as their starting fly-half for Saturday's Test against Eddie Jones' Japan. The choice at No 10 was always likely to be a keynote selection for head coach Steve Borthwick, and he has gone for the 25-year-old Harlequin rather than hand a first Test start to the Northampton playmaker.

The experienced Owen Farrell or George Ford have previously been relied on to set the tactical tone and, in their absence, the elder Smith has been awaiting an opportunity to claim the starting shirt. Until an untimely injury struck in January the latter had been poised to be England's first-choice fly-half in the Six Nations but Ford eventually took the reins instead.

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