Smith set to start at fly-half as England drop Ford for November Tests

London (AFP) –

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Marcus Smith is in line to feature at fly-half for England in a rejigged backline during next month's Tests at Twickenham after he was included in a 34-man squad announced Monday.

With veteran fly-half George Ford dropped, the way is now clear for Smith to start at No 10 alongside England captain Owen Farrell at inside centre.

The 22-year-old Smith has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame after inspiring Harlequins to the Premiership title last season.

The playmaker only made his England debut in July before being called up for the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa.

With Farrell providing another fly-half option, there was no place in the squad selected by England coach Eddie Jones for the 77-times capped Ford.

Up front, another experienced player in Saracens back-row Billy Vunipola was also omitted as veteran Australian coach Jones looked to refresh his squad ahead of the 2023 World Cup in France.

But Leicester hooker Nic Dolly, who has scored five tries in five Premiership matches this season, was included.

Dolly, 22, was born in Sydney but has played for England Under-20s.

England begin their end of year campaign against Tonga on November 6 before facing Australia -- who Jones guided to the 2003 World Cup final when they lost to England -- the following Saturday.

They wrap up their November programme against South Africa, the team that beat Jones's men in the 2019 World Cup final, on November 20.

England squad:

Backs (15)

Mark Atkinson (Gloucester), Owen Farrell (Saracens, capt), Tommy Freeman (Northampton), George Furbank (Northampton), Max Malins (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester), Raffi Quirke (Sale), Adam Radwan (Newcastle), Harry Randall (Bristol), Henry Slade (Exeter), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Freddie Steward (Leicester), Manu Tuilagi (Sale), Anthony Watson (Bath), Ben Youngs (Leicester)

Forwards (19)

Jamie Blamire (Newcastle), Callum Chick (Newcastle), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), Tom Curry (Sale), Trevor Davison (Newcastle), Nic Dolly (Leicester), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Charlie Ewels (Bath), Ellis Genge (Leicester), Jonny Hill (Exeter), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton), Joe Marler (Harlequins), George Martin (Leicester), Sam Simmonds (Exeter), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol), Will Stuart (Bath), Sam Underhill (Bath)

Fixtures

Nov 06: England v Tonga, Twickenham (1515 GMT)

Nov 13: England v Australia, Twickenham (1730 GMT)

Nov 20: England v South Africa, Twickenham (1515 GMT)