Wigan half-back Harry Smith will be giving England boss Shaun Wane a selection headache ahead of the mid-season clash with France.
Smith, 23, was included in Wane’s extended 40-man squad for the French test announced this week, with the international boss always admitting he would reward form.
The Wigan academy product put on another fine display during his side’s 13-6 victory over Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, ending Warrington’s winning streak in 2023.
In the battle of the halves, Smith came out on top over ex-Warrior George Williams, who he very well may partner in the halves for England in a fortnight’s time.
Smith got a taste of international rugby league last year, featuring from the bench in an unofficial cap against Fiji ahead of the World Cup, and has also represented Paul Anderson’s Knights.
And against Daryl Powell’s side, he gave another masterclass in game management, while his kicking was pin perfect as he played another big part in the victory.
He kicked a 40/20 in the second half and a relieving drop-goal late in the latter stages to extend the lead.
Smith produced the same mature performance against St Helens the week prior during the 14-6 Good Friday derby victory.
He scored the first try during last week’s Easter victory, and has linked up brilliantly well with Bevan French since his move into the full-back role in replacement of Jai Field.
And with no Field or Cade Cust, the pressure has been on Smith in recent weeks – and he’s certainly delivered.
Lewis Dodd, Jordan Abdull, Mikey Lewis and Jonny Lomax and Man of Steel leader Williams have also been included in Wane’s extended squad. And, ultimately, only two will be given the nod to feature against France.
But with an eye firmly on the 2025 World Cup, Wane is looking to the future. And should that include Widnes-born Smith?
Matt Peet praises Harry Smith
Following Wigan’s win over Super League leaders Warrington, head coach Matt Peet commented on Smith: “He works hard on his kicking game. Tommy Leuluai does a good job there mentoring him.
“He practises incredibly hard. He’s got a good feeler for the game and it’s something that’s only going to get better and it makes it easier for the lads to defend when they’ve got kicks to go after like that.
“I’m proud of him. I think him and Joe (Shorrocks), the whole spine, Brad O’Neill and Sam Powell did a good job as well.
“Harry works really hard. If you’ve watched Harry play through the year groups, he’s always had good game management. An old head on young shoulders.
“I’m really proud of Harry tonight and it’s really pleasing and I think he’ll be the first one to look at his game and look where he can improve.
“But I think he can be happy tonight and I think his defence has improved as well.”