Eddie Jones said there’s no limit to how good Marcus Smith can be after the England fly-half starred in Sunday’s 33-0 thumping of Italy in Rome.
Smith scored the first of England’s five tries at the Stadio Olimpico and kicked eight points in a man-of-the-match display which had Jones purring.
“There’s no ceiling to how good he can be,” Jones told reporters.
“If he keeps on wanting to get better, keeps on having a learning mindset he could be an absolutely outstanding player at test level by the World Cup. And obviously that’s pretty important.”
England sit second in the Six Nations standings after their bonus point win over the Azzurri, three points behind leaders and tournament favourites France.
They face Wales at Twickenham in a fortnight’s time and Jones was in positive mood about a display which banished memories of last weekend’s defeat to Scotland in Edinburgh.
They burst out of the blocks with two tries in the first 20 minutes and never looked back from that point.
“As we know Italy have troubled New Zealand in the first half and France in the first half. We didn’t have that trouble with them,” said Jones.
“We went out with a strong intent of taking the game to Italy, not allowing them into the game and I think we did that.”
Italy’s latest defeat, their 34th in a row in the Six Nations, will lead to further questions about their future in the competition.
But Jones is convinced that they are going in the right direction despite being outclassed more or less from the opening minute on their own turf.
“They’re progressing under Kieran Crowley. They had two really good results with New Zealand and France where they competed strongly and he’s only been in the job a short period of time,” said Jones.
“I’m sure they’re going to keep improving. I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom, I think they might cause an upset this Six Nations.”