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Six Nations

Smith’s injury shakes up England’s Lineup for Six Nations opener

Published on January 31, 2024
Updated on February 2, 2024
Written by Chris

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Smith's injury shakes up England's Lineup for Six Nations opener
  • Smith ruled out of Italy clash
  • Fly-half picks up calf injury in training
  • Dingwell expected to come in

Check the best betting sites in the UK and the top bookmakers for the Six Nations and the best betting sites for rugby union. For more information on the tournament check out our Six Nations preview.

Smith ruled out with calf injury

England’s preparations for their Six Nations opener against Italy have hit a snag with the news that fly-half Marcus Smith will miss the match due to a calf injury sustained in training. The anticipated debut for the young talent has been put on hold, opening the door for Northampton’s Fin Smith, 21, to step onto the international stage at the Stadio Olimpico.

Assistant coach Kevin Sinfield confirmed Smith’s unavailability, citing a calf injury that occurred during Monday’s training session. While the extent of the injury is yet to be fully understood, Smith’s absence compounds England’s challenges, with key players like Owen Farrell, Joe Marchant, Ollie Lawrence, and Manu Tuilagi either unavailable or sidelined due to injuries.

The absence of stalwarts like Courtney Lawes and Tom Curry, coupled with Jonny May’s retirement, has left vacancies across the squad, necessitating the inclusion of newer faces. Fraser Dingwall, Marcus Smith’s Northampton teammate, is expected to slot into the inside center position, adding to the list of new caps likely to be named in the matchday squad.

Despite the setbacks, Captain Jamie George expressed confidence in the team’s depth and praised the strong performances of English club sides in both domestic and European competitions.

For more information on Italy vs England check out our match preview.

Betting Implications

England are strong favourites to win in Rome.At the time of writing bet365 have England priced at 1/10 to win, with Italy at 13/2 and a draw at 40/1. 

Bettors need to monitor England’s performance in Rome to see how they cope with the enforced changes they will make due to injuries and unavailability. They have made steady progress under Steve Borthwick and are currently third favourites to win the Six Nations behind France and Ireland, priced at 6/1 with Coral. Punters will need to assess how new players have settled in the side when making their outright picks and when betting on individual matches.

For more information on the tournament check out our Six Nations preview.

Check the best betting sites in the UK and the top bookmakers for the Six Nations and the best betting sites for rugby union.


For information on France vs Ireland check out our preview.

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Chris is a former athlete and a qualified PE teacher. He is a keen football fan, watching many matches at different levels throughout the season, and enjoys following many different sports. With betting and sports sites, he has a keen eye for detail and can to highlight positives and negatives for users. His experience in sport as a performer, teacher, writer and fan allows him to see things from many different perspectives. Editorial Promise