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Home > News > England U20: Smith junior follows in father's footsteps
Your News England U20: Smith junior follows in father's footsteps

HARLEQUINS wing Sam Smith will be rewarded for turning his back on other sports and following in the his father's footsteps if he wins a place in England's Under 20 squad heading for this summer's IRB Junior World Championship.

Smith, whose dad Simon played on the wing for England in the 1980s, will be on stage in the final act of the RBS 6 Nations when the Under 20 side take on France in Saint Nazaire on Sunday (2pm GMT).

England have only a slim chance of claiming the title. Ireland's 44-15 win over Scotland on Friday night leaves Smith and his teammates needing to win by an unlikely 47-point margin at the Stade du Pre-Hembert on the Atlantic coast if they are to regain the trophy they won in 2008.

A high-quality performance to build on their 27-6 win in Scotland is needed and everyone is out to convince head coach Mark Mapletoft they are worth a place in the 26-man squad heading for Argentina in June, when England will be out to improve on runners-up spots in 2008 and 2009.

Arguably, competition is fiercest on the wings, where Smith's rivals include Leicester's Will Hurrell, Wasps and England Sevens starlet Christian Wade and London Irish flier Marcus Watson.

Smith, 19, has a big supporter in his father Simon, the Wasps wing who made nine appearances for England in 1985 and 1986, scoring on his debut against Romania on day Rob Andrew and Wade Dooley also won their first caps.

"My dad played and I never really wanted to play when I was younger because it was his thing," said Smith.

"I tried every other sport under the sun like karate, swimming, and I was terrible at them all! At 13 I gave in, said I'll give it a go, and I haven't really looked back since.

"I never really saw him play as he stopped when I was about two. He didn't want to be too pushy so he left it up to me. He's been really supportive, though, especially as we play the same position, and that's really helpful.

"He helps me looking through games and when I was younger he helped me with my passing and kicking. When I'd train after school he'd come and help me if I needed some help.

"I went on to play for the county, went to Cranleigh school on a rugby scholarship, then played England Under 16 the next year. Then I played England Under 18 with all these guys in this team now like Rory Clegg, Andrew Forsyth, Jacob Rowan, Joe Marler. Now I'm back with them."

At 6ft 2in and more than 15st, Smith offers a physical presence to go with his rangy, weaving running style and this season he has appeared for Quins in the LV=Cup as well as making three Guinness Premiership appearances, including a first start against London Irish last month.

"I'm really enjoying myself at the moment, particularly after getting my first start in the Premiership and I'm on a roll and feeling confident and want to just keep going," he said.

"All I can do is control how I play and if that gets me more games in the Premiership and to the Junior World Championship I'll be happy with that.

"It's pretty competitive for wings at the moment. I've got to keep improving and if the end result is the tournament in Argentina then that'll be great."

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