Harlequins star Will Joseph backed to push England Six Nations claim in Champions Cup

Harlequins centre Will Joseph was cut from England's initial World Cup training squad for France (Getty Images)
Harlequins centre Will Joseph was cut from England's initial World Cup training squad for France (Getty Images)

Will Joseph has been tipped to hand Steve Borthwick a Six Nations midfield headache as Harlequins head for a glamour tie at Racing 92.

All eyes will be on England tyro Henry Arundell turning out for Racing and taking on Test team-mates like Marcus Smith at La Defense Arena in Sunday’s Champions Cup clash.

But Quins boss Billy Millard has urged new recruit Joseph to extend his fine form and press his international claims this weekend.

England need a new outside centre after Joe Marchant left Quins for Stade Francais, leaving him off-limits for selection.

Joseph has stepped into Marchant’s old 13 slot at The Stoop, and Millard has explained how he can go about replacing him at Test level, too.

The 21-year-old former London Irish star bagged a try brace as Quins thrashed Premiership leaders Sale 36-3 in London last weekend, and will be itching to get in on the action again in Paris.

“He’s got to back up that performance again; he’s set himself the standard now,” said Quins rugby director Millard.

“I spoke to (former London Irish head coach) Les Kiss the other day, he watched the Sale game. And he said that’s kind of where Will is at his best there.

“Will was outstanding against Sale, and it was great to see.”

Joseph earned one Test cap on England’s Australia tour in July 2022, and made head coach Borthwick’s initial World Cup training squad.

Younger brother of 54-cap centre Jonathan, new Quins man Joseph will have two big chances to impress against both Racing and Toulouse in the Champions Cup.

“He needs to back those performances up to go to that next level, which he’s capable of," said Millard.

“If he has a good impact now, he’ll certainly put his name in the ring.”

Fly-half Smith will keep pushing his case for England’s vacant No10 shirt given Owen Farrell’s Test-match break – leaving Racing’s ex-England boss Stuart Lancaster on red alert.

“It’s a bit like trying to set up a defence against Finn Russell, sometimes he’ll play behind the line, sometimes he’ll take on the line, and you don’t know exactly when,” said Lancaster.

“So you’ve got to be aware not to give him what he wants, which is easier said than done.”