A fitness boost for Steve Borthwick as Marcus Smith is one of four people to return from injury this weekend

Marcus Smith Credit: Alamy

Marcus Smith Credit: Alamy

England head coach Steve Borthwick received support as the Six Nations quartet came back from injury this weekend as a major boost.

Fly-half Marcus Smith makes his long-awaited return, being named to the Harlequins’ starting team in the Champions Cup match against Racing 92 in Paris.

Smith will face Scottish quarterback Finn Russell in his fixture at the Paris La Defense Arena, which promises to be a fascinating hour this Sunday.

Russell vs Smith on Sunday

Borthwick will be interested in seeing how he sprints to the ground in this tough comeback after Smith’s been out of the game for so long due to injury.

He reshapes his impressive 8, 9, 10 connection with Alex Dombrandt and Danny Care, and the latter duo is certainly not out of the Six Nations selection race.

Half-backed Borthwick will follow Raffi Quirke closely as he descends from the bench for the Sale Sharks against Toulouse on Saturday.

It’s Quirke’s first appearance since breaking his ankle against Gloucester in November, and he’ll be desperate to put his bad chance of injury behind him.

Half stocks are also bolstered by Harry Randall’s return to the Bristol Bears in a Challenge Cup match against Zebre Parma at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

Randall was picked by rugby director Pat Lam in the Bears’ debut XV and, like Quirke, will be hoping to impress Borthwick before the Six Nations.

England’s current player, Jack van Poortvliet, was taken to the bench for the Leicester Tigers this weekend, with Ben Youngs starting and jumping.

Courtney Lawes starts at Saints

For the forwards, Tom Curry was expected to be absent after his injury last weekend, but English fans will be relieved by the return of Courtney Lawes.

England and the British and Irish Lions start on the open wing for Northampton as they head to Munster to secure their first pool victory.

The Saints currently have two losses in the Champions Cup from a two-game record, named after David Ribbans, who spoke to us privately about their 2023 hopes.

Elsewhere, there is no Owen Farrell for the Saracens, of course due to his suspension, so Alex Goode fills in the 10, while Elliot Daly plays fullback against Lyon.

With Borthwick expected to announce their 2023 Six Nations roster on Monday, this is the last opportunity for players to claim their pick.

READ MORE: Joey Carbery starts for Munster at age 10, Courtney Lawes starts for Northampton, Marcus Smith returns for Harlequins

England: The fitness improvement article for Steve Borthwick first appeared on Planetrugby.com this weekend as Marcus Smith is one of four people returning from injury.

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