In the ten years since its inception, the World Rugby U20 Championship has always been a breeding ground for the rugby stars of tomorrow. Max Malins is one of those future stars.
The likes of Maro Itoje, Tyler Blyendaal, Aaron Cruden and Julian Savea have all played for their respective home nations in the competition.
Maro Itoje has had a whirlwind introduction to top level rugby for both Saracens and England. Likewise Bleyendaal for Munster and Cruden and Savea both winning World Cups with New Zealand.
Malins making his mark
It’s not surprising then that the class of 2017 will have similar if not greater success in future years.
No one more so than England’s Max Malins. The 20-year old has been a prominent figure at fly-half. A position that Leicester and England no.10 George Ford occupied not too long ago at U20 level.
Despite a short Six Nations campaign, Malins was a standout player. He’s undoubtedly brought that level of intensity to the World Championship in Georgia.
England are a side that are blessed with excellent academies for developing youth. Clubs provide invaluable experience for these players, whether it be in the Championship, the Premiership or even the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
Malins has embraced his experience with both hands and it has clearly shown in England’s opening two pool games.
Combining attack with defence
Drafted into the starting lineup against Samoa following an injury to Theo Brophy-Clews, Malins controlled the attack with such precision.
As well as scoring himself, the young fly-half was consistently looking for the next attack. Likewise against Wales, Malins’ ability to play the ball on the advantage line was impeccable.
His ball playing shows similarities to Owen Farrell in knowing when to play the killer pass. It’s that instinctive pass that gets his side over the advantage line time and time again.
In the opening two rounds of the pool stages, it’s a blend of attack and defence that has really impressed. Malins has carried the ball eleven times, breaking the line on three separate occasions.
His defensive qualities are just as effective as his attack. His tackle count, currently on fourteen, means he is as reliable off the ball as he is with it.
Even Malins’ kicking speaks for itself. Only New Zealand’s Tiaan Falcon is above him as leading points scorer. Falcon currently sits on twenty-eight points, while Malins is on twenty-seven.
Malins is undoubtedly a big game player. His confidence and experience will certainly tell as the tournament progresses.
He is pivotal to England’s success and will need him for the duration. Expect him to come out on top against Australia and lead his team to a semi-final.
Max Malins; remember the name, as he’s destined for great things at the top level.