England’s Freddie Steward compared to cricketer Harry Brook regarding big impact
Max Malins can see a strong comparison between England full-back Freddie Steward and cricketer Harry Brook in terms of the startling impact they have made on international sport.
Steward is just 20 caps into his Test career, while Brook has amassed 809 runs for England in only nine innings – including four centuries – at an average of almost 90.
Former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies described 22-year-old Steward as the world’s best full-back under the high ball following a command performance during England’s 20-10 Guinness Six Nations victory in Cardiff.
It was England’s first win at the Principality Stadium since 2017 – and a biggest away success against Wales for 20 years – with Steward a driving force.
Asked if he could see similarity between Steward and Brook, England wing Malins said: “I would say so. He (Steward) is well beyond his years in that sense.
“From 21 for three on day one (against New Zealand) to see Brook score those runs, I love the way they are playing, the no-fear factor of ‘go and play cricket’, and that has helped Brook to play his own game.
“He (Steward) was unbelievable. It is always nice knowing you have that safety net behind you, that he is going to clean up anything.
“He is one of the best, isn’t he? You don’t see many people compete with him there and win the ball.
“He doesn’t always just catch it on his chest either, it’s above his head as well. It’s pretty impressive stuff.
“You take a ball like that, you know someone is coming to smash you. That is part of the skill, too.”
Tries from Anthony Watson, Kyle Sinckler and Ollie Lawrence saw England make it two wins in three Tests under new head coach Steve Borthwick.
And while tournament heavyweights France at Twickenham and Ireland in Dublin now await, England continue to take promising steps.
“We have come a long way in such a short space of time,” Malins added.
“We were disappointed with the start against Scotland (in England’s opening game), but we have shown promise.
“We’ve come to an intimidating ground with an intimidating crowd and a great atmosphere to play in.
“Some people could get swallowed up in that, but just go out there with no fear, go and enjoy it, enjoy the occasion. We are very privileged to be able to play in atmospheres like this and matches like this, so why fear? Go and take it on.”
We know there is a lot of improvement in us, and that will certainly be the objective leading into the last two weeks
Ireland are likely to be chasing a Grand Slam when England head to the Aviva Stadium on March 18, so it will be a huge examination for Borthwick’s team.
“We know there is a lot of improvement in us, and that will certainly be the objective leading into the last two weeks,” Malins said.
“We talked about mental toughness this week. Coming to this stadium, it is always going to be a test with the crowd getting behind their team, it is always going to play on your emotions and test you mentally.”
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