Dombrandt responds in emphatic style after week of Zach Mercer hysteria
There was a clear power shift in the England No8 narrative this week following the two try performance for Montpellier’s Zach Mercer against Harlequins last Sunday.
Suddenly the former Bath man was thrown back into the England conversation having been exiled for almost four years after earning two caps in 2018. His display at the GGL Stadium in the Heineken Champions Cup was worth taking note of though.
This obviously would have irked his opposite No8 Alex Dombrandt last week, who along with Sam Simmonds have shared the No8 shirt under Eddie Jones this season. It only took a matter of seconds for him to make a statement at the Stoop on Saturday and throw another twist to this epic No8 battle that is unfolding.
The 24-year-old was at the heart of the action for Quins’ opening try of the match against the Top 14 leaders, creating a try for teammate Huw Jones after only 34 seconds of the match with a brilliant line from a Marcus Smith pass.
He was at it again just over ten minutes later, barging over the line from close range and scoring Quins’ second try of the match as they seek to overturn a 14 points deficit from last weekend.
This is some way to respond following a week where all the attention has been on Mercer. Meanwhile, the Montpellier man did not even start at the Stoop in what was a bizarre move that caught many by surprise.
Dombrandt was named star of the match in 33-20 win. Despite the win, it was just not enough, as the Gallagher Premiership champions agonisingly lost on aggregate 60-59, with Smith missing a late conversion that would have just earned his side the victory. Nonetheless, this was an impressive statement that Dombrandt made with England preparing for a tour of Australia this summer.