Opportunity knocks for Fin Smith

Fin Smith became the second-youngest player to play for Warriors in the Gallagher Premiership when he made his debut as a replacement against Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday.

Having been an unused replacement against Wasps two weeks earlier, Smith replaced full-back Chris Pennell four minutes from time at Kingsholm.

At 18 years and 292 days, Smith became only the second 18-year-old to play for Warriors in the top flight with lock Graham Kitchener the youngest, at 18 years and 195 days, when he played against Wasps in April 2008.

“It was huge for Fin. The last two weeks the games have been tight. We want to give Fin an opportunity but we want to set him up to succeed,” said Warriors Head Coach Jonathan Thomas.

“We would have liked to have given him more time. Fin is a very talented player and he’s got a future ahead of him.

“He will get lots more opportunities in the coming months. We have got Premiership Rugby Cup around the corner so there will be opportunities there for Fin to play and we are excited about his potential.”

Smith, who joined the Three Pears Academy, played his formative rugby at Shipston-on-Stour and Warwick School and was one of four Warwick products in Warriors’ matchday squad, alongside Nick David, Tom Dodd and Jamie Shillcock, at Gloucester.

Just 12 months ago Smith played for Warriors Under-18s in the Premiership Academy Under-18s Finals Day at Sixways and, due to COVID-19, he has yet to make his debut for the Cavaliers.

Following Smith’s debut, Ollie Lawrence drops to third in the list of Warriors’ youngest Premiership players.
Lawrence made his debut in the competition at Exeter Chiefs in September 2018 just 11 days after he celebrated his 19th birthday.

Jonny Arr was 19 years and 30 days old when he played against Harlequins in December 2007, Shillcock was 17 days older when he played against Bath Rugby in September 2016 and Louis Silver was 19 years and 74 days old when he made his Premiership debut against Yorkshire Carnegie in April 2010.