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Assessing the possible fly-half options as George Ford misses England summer series

England Rugby have today confirmed star fly-half George Ford will miss the summer tour to Japan and New Zealand through injury.

The Sale Sharks back is still recovering from a pre-existing Achilles injury, and both the club and England have agreed he will not be in Steve Borthwick‘s 33-man touring party to the Southern Hemisphere.

Ford had the starting fly-half role during the Six Nations, however it will now be up for grabs.

There are plenty of talented fly-halves throughout the Premiership, but who will step up to claim the famous shirt? Here, we assess five possible options to don the number 10 jersey.

Assessing the possible fly-half options for Japan and New Zealand tour

Marcus Smith

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Harlequins X-factor fly-half Marcus Smith is the likely replacement to start. Smith hasn’t been fully trusted to run the England attack in his international career, likely due to the role’s of Ford and Farrell, however with the pair now both absent this could be his moment. He was also in pole position to start during the Six Nations, however was ruled out of the opening rounds with a calf injury. His style of play will suit the new attack England are using too.

Fin Smith

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The one closest to Ford in this list is Fin Smith. The Northampton fly-half is more of a traditional 10, but this season he has been one of the best in this role. In a similar way to Ford too, he plays incredibly flat to the line, in an attempt to create space for others around him. Smith has also matured over the course of the season, and is more than capable of playing in big games.

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Charlie Atkinson

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This could be a great chance for Charlie Atkinson to get some experience with the senior England team. The young Gloucester fly-half gave a good account of himself for England A earlier this year, and even being involved as the third-choice 10 would be really beneficial for him moving forward.

George Furbank

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Furbank is more than capable of switching between 15 and 10 well, and Eddie Jones was one who thought he could suit the fly-half role at international level. Furbank’s role as the extra ball-player in the back-field is fundamental to this England attack, however playing him as the first receiver wouldn’t do any harm to the system.

Harvey Skinner

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A bit of a bold shout here, but Skinner has really come on towards the end of the season. He really imposed himself on Marcus Smith in Exeter’s thumping of Harlequins at the end of the season, and that type of performance could be really useful for England. It was ruggid, almost nuggety (I’m sorry) and incredibly passionate too, similar to Owen Farrell in all honesty. Still only 25, Skinner has plenty of developing to do to make him a world beater, and time in an England camp could take him up a gear.

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