England's potential World Cup bolter
WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN: After a youthful England XV beat an experienced Barbarians team 51-43 at Twickenham on Sunday, a number of players have caught the eye of England fans.
This was the closest thing to a Saxons team that England could have put out, with no regulars in the side, and very few in contention to make the World Cup training squad. With an array of internationals, and World Cup winners, this was not expected to be an easy game for England.
Despite allowing a late comeback from the BaaBaas, England, coached by Jim Mallinder, raced to a 31-12 lead in impressive fashion. The watching Eddie Jones would certainly have had his eye on some of the players, with the training squad for the four World Cup warm up matches being announced in the coming weeks.
As a result, a number of bolters for the training squad are appearing from fans on Twitter after the match. Man of the Match Marcus Smith and his Harlequins teammates Alex Dombrandt and Joe Marchant are emerging as contenders for the squad, as is Sale flanker Ben Curry.
Curry’s brother, Tom, has been a star for England this season, and Ben is cut from the same cloth. But after an extremely powerful display at blindside flank, Dombrandt’s name seems to be frequently appearing amongst fans. The 22-year-old ran in for two tries, and could well have had a hat-trick had he not been so selfless in setting up Johnny Williams’ try.
The tries only tell half the story in Dombrandt’s performance, as he showed the power with ball in hand that he has shown all season for Quins.
This is what the fans have said after his performance:
Dombrandt in the 40+ extended squad surely? Curry had a breakthrough performance last year against the BaaBaas, Dombrandt could have the same…
— Leicester Tigers Fan1 (@funners123) June 3, 2019
Alex Dombrandt.. my word, any doubts he is the future thoroughly dismissed, amazing game against top opposition. Please dont try and change him, he is the player England need!!!
— david grosvenor (@grosvenor_david) June 3, 2019
Best break through player of the season. @EnglandRugby get him on the plane!
— James (@jamesball1982) June 2, 2019
Dombrant is superb and a definite bolter for the world Cup
— BathBytes (@BathBytes) June 2, 2019
Get Dombrant on the plane to japan https://t.co/eVAYjRgKLt
— Will Ginns (@WillGinns) June 2, 2019
— Edward Hale 🃏 (@EdwardJBH) June 2, 2019
Fantastic day at HQ for England V Barbarians. England certainly surprised me. Alex Dombrant deserves a call up. Marcus Smith should be playing in the EPS team by the next Six Nations. Controlled the game beautiful up against an array of talent pic.twitter.com/3iSvhRPfrH
— Katy Homewood (@_katyhomewood) June 2, 2019
— Tom Tweddle (@TTweds) June 2, 2019
This has been a breakthrough season for Dombrandt at Harlequins, as he has lit up the Premiership, primarily playing at No.8. His ability to play eight or six may help when it comes to selection for the World Cup, but he still needs to compete with the likes of Billy Vunipola, Nathan Hughes and Ben Morgan for the eight shirt, and Chris Robshaw, Mark Wilson and Brad Shields for the six shirt.
The back row is very well stocked with England at the moment, as Ben Curry will find as an openside flank, as he will need to compete with his brother Tom, Sam Underhill, and the returning Sam Simmonds, who can cover the whole back-row. Then again, the point of the warm up matches against Wales, home and away, Ireland and Italy is to test some of the unknown players at test level.
This is a tough decision for Jones to make, but Dombrandt would have only helped his chances of selection with his performance against the BaaBaas. Regardless of whether he makes it to Japan or not, there is little doubt that he will be in the 2020 Six Nations squad, and quite possibly touring with the British and Irish Lions the year after.