Very few players have enjoyed a better start to life under Steve Borthwick than Max Malins.
The winger has been in flying form in the first two matches of the Championship, scoring two tries in the first half against Scotland before an assured display against Italy a week later.
It should come as no surprise that one of the consistently top performers in the Gallagher Premiership in recent years has settled into the side – what was perhaps surprising for such a talented marksman is that those two tries at Twickenham were his first in an England shirt.
Now, competing against a blessed crop of back three players, with the likes of Henry Arundell, Tommy Freeman, Cadan Murley and Ollie Hassell-Collins to name but a few all in fine form, but it was Malins who has been chosen by Borthwick so far.
He said: “I’m very grateful to obviously get these first two opportunities under Steve.
“But I’m under no illusions that I need to put in the performances to stay there.
“You only need to see the people that are not playing and how good the strength in depth we have is in this position.
“So I am very grateful to get these first two opportunities and I’m really hoping that I can push on.”
England responded to that Calcutta Cup disappointment in Borthwick’s first game with a strong bounce-back win against Italy a week later, but their biggest tests this Championship are yet to come.
The world’s top two sides France and Ireland await, but first up comes Wales in Cardiff, where England have not won since 2017 – and Malins understands the size of the task ahead.
He said: “It is huge and it is a massive challenge which we know is coming, so we are under no illusions how hard that is going to be.
“We have a three-day training camp this week to start laying down the foundations and seeing how we want to play, and hopefully that will put us in good stead to go to Cardiff and put in a good performance.”
Much has been made of just how much work there is to do for Borthwick to try to catch the likes of France and Ireland just seven months before the World Cup, but Malins is pleased with the direction the side is heading.
He said: “I’d say we are fast learning under Steve, he has done very well to lay the foundations and make it clear how he wants to play with those tactical changes depending on who the opposition is.
“I think you have probably seen in these last two games that we have changed up our gameplan depending on who the opposition is, and I think that is crucial.
“We understand that we have a bit of a way to go, and nobody knows how quickly we will bridge that gap.
“But what we can do is put our best foot forward and go and train like every moment matters and hopefully take the strides that we need.”