Marcus Smith will revise his post‑tournament schedules in a bid to prolong his career after admitting he came back too early from the World Cup.
The fly-half was thrust into action by Harlequins the week after England’s bronze-medal game against Argentina but would not do the same thing now.
Since that appearance, off the bench against Newcastle, Smith’s form smouldered before lighting up against Sale in the Premiership recently and, on Sunday, in the 31-28 Champions Cup win against Racing 92. The 24-year-old, frontrunner to start at 10 for England in the Six Nations, said he would not repeat his quick reappearance in the future.
“I was emotionally exerting myself for that long,” he said. “I had two weeks off in the off-season and three weeks of training because I didn’t want to miss the jump. I was desperate to get on that World Cup tour.
“I was a bit naive in thinking I could just come back straight away and slip in. But it’s a good learning for next time – just to be in touch and understand better when to say no. I love playing for this club and I wanted to do that as soon as I got back but I think in hindsight I should have taken a week off.”
The England captain, Owen Farrell, stepped back from the international game after torrents of abuse during the World Cup and that was a warning for Smith to pace himself. Smith’s half-back partner Danny Care has said publicly how tough it was to get back into the club game.
Smith therefore has entrusted Harlequins’ director of rugby, Billy Millard, to help him plan the best way through this campaign and many more to come.
“I can’t speak on Owen’s situation,” Smith said. “I wish him all the best with his decision and I keep in contact with him – but I was so desperate to come back and so eager to play again. But I also need to look after my mind and body to make sure I have longevity in the game.
“Billy’s really good with me. I’ve known him for a while now and he always looks after me. He knows how to get a smile on my face, and we have a brilliant relationship.
“I trust him implicitly and I know that he always has my best interests at heart.”