Smith is only 20 but was named in Steve Borthwick’s first England squad last week after impressing since moving to Franklin’s Gardens from Worcester. The stand-off is dual qualified, with his family hailing from the Borders village of Clovenfords, near Galashiels. His grandfather, Tom Elliot, played for Gala and won 14 caps for Scotland, earning a call-up for the Lions tour of South Africa in 1955.“I knew that England would be pushing hard for him because he has been playing really well,” said Townsend, who played with distinction for both Gala and Northampton. “For such a young man to be playing the way he is in that position shows what a quality player he already is and is going to be. We would love to have been able to have him as an option because he is a quality player and because of his family connections, a lot around the Borders and Gala rugby club. It would've been nice if he had committed to Scotland. He had a tough decision to make and we wish him all the best.”
The Scotland coach said that Smith had contacted him last Sunday night to inform him of his decision to pick England. With Adam Hastings currently out injured, Townsend has turned to Munster’s Ben Healy for stand-off cover for Finn Russell and Blair Kinghorn during the Six Nations. Tipperary-born Healy is Scottish-qualified through his mother and will join Edinburgh next season after switching allegiance from Ireland who he represented at under-20 level.