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Smith summoned by Lions while steering England to romp win

July 10, 2021 GMT
England's Marcus Smith, left, tackled by Canada's Lucas Rumball, center, and Reegan O'Gorman during the Summer Series rugby union match between England and Canada at Twickenham Stadium, London, Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)
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England's Marcus Smith, left, tackled by Canada's Lucas Rumball, center, and Reegan O'Gorman during the Summer Series rugby union match between England and Canada at Twickenham Stadium, London, Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)
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England's Marcus Smith, left, tackled by Canada's Lucas Rumball, center, and Reegan O'Gorman during the Summer Series rugby union match between England and Canada at Twickenham Stadium, London, Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Rookie flyhalf Marcus Smith has traded one golden ticket for another after his British and Irish Lions call-up on Saturday made him unable to attend England’s appearance in the European Championship final.

Smith was summoned by the Lions to cover for Finn Russell, who has an Achilles issue.

The playmaker was on the field directing England’s 70-14 rout of Canada at Twickenham when news of his Lions selection broke.

Smith didn’t know until he was replaced with 15 minutes to go.

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He will relinquish his ticket to the Euro 2020 final at Wembley to his brother when he’s over the shock of the Lions call.

“I can’t believe what is going on,” Smith said.

“It was always my dream to represent the Lions. I didn’t expect it to come this soon.

“I am going to go out there and try and learn as much as I can from some of the best players in the world. Then I’ll try to be myself, which will be the best of me, and see what happens.”

It’s been a madcap month for Smith, who steered Harlequins to an unlikely Premiership final victory on June 26, quickly followed by an assured England debut last weekend against the United States. After a perfect goalkicking return from nine shots against Canada, he was set to race to the airport to catch a flight to South Africa.

Hooker Jamie Blamire and wing Adam Radwan scored try hat tricks, wing Joe Cokanasiga got another brace in a three-minute span, and Ellis Genge also crossed in addition to a penalty try in the 10-try romp at Twickenham.

Ross Braude and Kainoa Lloyd claimed tries for a Canada side that was outclassed, with England effectively in control throughout.

Sam Underhill’s immediate turnover from the kickoff set the tone for England’s near total dominance. Blamire capped a driven lineout, Smith converted, and so started the procession of try scorers.

Canada lock Conor Keys was sinbinned for collapsing a maul that gifted England a penalty try.

England captain Lewis Ludlow’s cheap yellow card opened the door to a second Canada try, but the hosts led 42-14 at the break.

Blamire completed his hat trick and was substituted, and moments later Radwan sealed his own treble.

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