sport news I did my maths exam, then went training with England stars... Marcus Smith on ...

When the Rugby World Cup comes around Marcus Smith's father becomes very excited.

Whether the family were in the Philippines, Singapore or Brighton a tradition had to be kept.

'For every World Cup he used to stick up a massive England flag outside the house,' smiles Marcus, now wearing the red rose at the U20s' hotel during their World Championship - a chateau near Beziers.

Marcus Smith has shot to stardom but is back with his own age group at the U20 World Cup

Marcus Smith has shot to stardom but is back with his own age group at the U20 World Cup

Smith burst onto the scene with Harlequins and has trained with England this season

Smith burst onto the scene with Harlequins and has trained with England this season

'Dad gets pretty passionate about it.' Jeremy Smith watches the 2003 World Cup final periodically - perhaps to remind his son of those past glories; Marcus was only four when Jonny Wilkinson kicked that drop-goal.

Now 19 he has English chins wagging, and in his most in-depth newspaper interview yet Smith explains how the boy from Manila became Eddie Jones' England 'apprentice'.

In Hong Kong a Filipino working for Cathay Pacific met an English banker from Brighton. Soon Suzanne and Jeremy moved to the Philippines and had their first son.

Smith loved growing up in Batangas - two hours south of the capital.

'It's more of an outdoors lifestyle, more relaxed and less stressed about exams, which encouraged me to get outside and play with my mates,' he recalls.

'I try to go back once a year and get a few mates to come to show them where I'm from. It is a special place.' By the time England had lifted the Webb Ellis trophy in Sydney Smith had two brothers - Luc and Tomas - and when he was seven the family emigrated to Singapore.

Jeremy, who played two Tests for Hong Kong, set up a small rugby academy for 12 ex-pats and took the boys along. Smith preferred football but those days messing at Centaurs RFC kick-started his rugby career.

'The majority of our time was spent outdoors,' he explains.

'We're very competitive - that was instilled in us. We spent lots of time playing football, cricket - whatever sport it was - throwing a ball about and competing.' The family's next move was a shock to the system for the boys. When Smith was 13 his father's job took him from tropical climes to a home in Hove.

'It was the first time I had lived in England,' he says.

'We'd come back to see my dad's family in Brighton once a year for the summer holidays - it was always sunny until 10pm, so we were outside until 10pm.

'But my first experience was of winter, and it was horrific! It was just dark. We went to school in the dark, came home in the dark - it was a different life.

'Those first few months were pretty tough.' Then to tackle traditions at Brighton College. Morning chapel and tying ties.

'I can do a half-Windsor now!' chuckles Smith.

The starlet was awarded the Sanlam Young Player of the Year at  the end of the season

The starlet was awarded the Sanlam Young Player of the Year at  the end of the season

'My granddad taught all of us - we never had to do it as we wore polo shirts and shorts in Singapore.' By his GCSEs Smith was already destined for some sort of sporting stardom. He had trialled for Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton & Hove

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