Dombrandt’s progress rewarded with England cap against Canada
LONDON (AP) – No.8 Alex Dombrandt has impressed England coach Eddie Jones with how far he has come.
Dombrandt was on Jones’ 2019 Rugby World Cup training squad, scoring two tries in a non-selection game against the Barbarians, and will finally make his England debut against Canada on Saturday at Twickenham.
Without playing representative rugby or going through an academy, his career only took off when he went to college in Wales and was selected for Wales Under-20s in 2017, qualifying as a resident student.
He signed with the Harlequins club in 2018 and a combination of brutal form and professional coaching culminated in his appearance in Quins’ superb Premiership title run two weeks ago.
Jones believed that Dombrandt’s lack of long-term exposure as a top-level coach had forced him to graft to polish the intricacies of the No.8 game.
âI think he’s continually learning about the game,â Jones said.
“No. 8 is an important position in the team because he has to make sure you come forward when you don’t have a lead. And he has to stop the opposition when they go forward.
âThey have to be a good reader of the game, and given his probably light rugby experience before the Harlequins, he had to work really hard to read the game and be an effective No.8.
âCallum Chick did really well for us last week so we look forward to Alex continuing. “
By beating the United States 43-29 last weekend, Jones made his debut with 12 players – the most by England since 1947 – but this week only four: Dombrandt, lock Harry Wells, midfielder midfielder Dan Kelly and winger Adam Radwan.
âWe would love if we could bring in four or five of these guys, but maybe we can get more,â Jones said. “That’s the goal, to uncover talents that make the squad so competitive that every player in England, if they want to be part of the English team, has to run at full speed and move towards that all the time. “
Canada, beaten by Wales 68-12 in Cardiff, made just three changes.
Reegan O’Gorman has been moved from the blind side flanker to lock in place of injured Josh Larsen, Cory Thomas has filled the vacancy, and in the lone baseline change Lachlan Kratz will make his center debut. Reserve mainstay Liam Murray could also make his first appearance.
England: Freddie Steward, Joe Cokanasiga, Henry Slade, Dan Kelly, Adam Radwan, Marcus Smith, Harry Randall; Alex Dombrandt, Sam Underhill, Lewis Ludlow (captain), Charlie Ewels, Harry Wells, Joe Heyes, Jamie Blamire, Ellis Genge. Reserves: Curtis Langdon, Beno Obano, Paul Hill, Callum Chick, Lewis Ludlam, Dan Robson, George Furbank, Joe Marchant.
Canada: Cooper Coats, Cole Davis, Ben LeSage, Lachlan Kratz, Kainoa Lloyd, Peter Nelson, Ross Braude; Siaki Vikilani, Lucas Rumball (captain), Corey Thomas, Conor Keys, Reegan O’Gorman, Jake Ilnicki, Andrew Quattrin, Justice Sears-Duru. Reserves: Eric Howard, Cole Keith, Liam Murray, Donald Carson, Michael Smith, Quinn Ngawati, William Percillier, Robbie Povey.
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