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Eddie Jones names the best attacking combination he has ever seen

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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An innocuous question about Max Malins and his ability to flit between the wing and full-back wasn’t supposed to elicit a response that had Eddie Jones enthusiastically jumping back through time but that was precisely what he did when asked about the positional flexibility of the Saracens player following the announcement of the England XV to play the USA this Sunday.  

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It was at full-back where the 24-year-old made people sit up and take great notice of him in the recent Guinness Six Nations. 

Having played in that position off the bench against Wales in February, he was picked to start there ahead of the benched Elliot Daly in the win over France and would have started again at No15 in the championship finale in Ireland but for an injury suffered at training the day before.

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The moment the lights went out at a Springboks media briefing

By the time he was mended, it was mid-April and what happened between then and the unsuccessful conclusion to his Premiership season at loan club Bristol illustrates his ability to play across the backline. 

Nine tries he scored in seven appearances. There were two starts at full-back, another at out-half and four more on the left wing, the position he will occupy this Sunday for England after Jones elected to give Leicester youngster Freddie Steward a debut cap at full-back. Jones is intrigued over what might unfold with Malins starting in the wide channel for the first time.

“A long time ago when I coached the Brumbies we used to have Joe Roff and Andrew Walker and they played full-back and wing and they were the best attacking combination I have ever seen because they interchanged all the time,” he enthused. “The defence never knew what was coming to them and with Max on the wing, it gives us two full-backs and allows him to play a completely roving role.

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“I expect his attacking instincts to be even sharper from the wing than it has been from full-back and we know he can play full-back and we are not discounting that he won’t play full-back in the future, but I feel we can get a lot out of him as a roving winger who can go all over the field and just find the opportunity to attack.”

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Eddie Jones names the best attacking combination he has ever seen

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