'Really good for Eddie Jones': Dallaglio on Vunipola and Dombrandt battle
By Rugby Onslaught

‘Really good for Eddie Jones’: Dallaglio on Vunipola and Dombrandt battle

As far as No8 battles go in the Gallagher Premiership, they do not get more exciting than Billy Vunipola versus Alex Dombrandt, and the two went head to head on Saturday at the Stoop.

Both players stepped up to the plate as well as Saracens came away with a 30-27 win. Each half was basically dominated by either player, with Dombrandt coming out on top in the first 40, assisting two tries, and Vunipola coming out on top in the second.

Former England No8 Lawrence Dallaglio discussed this battle on BT Sport this week, praising both players and saying the main person who will benefit from their battle is Eddie Jones. The Australian brought Vunipola back in from Test exile in the summer against Australia with Dombrandt injured, and the Saracen took the chance with both hands. The race is now on to see who takes the England No8 jersey this autumn.

“I suspect it’ll be a rivalry that will continue to to play out as the season goes on,” Dallaglio said. “Dombrandt was the man in possession of the England jersey for large parts of the season last year and played outstandingly well. A real leader, he was man of the match against Newcastle. Didn’t go to Australia. So he knew he had ground to make up before the England squad is announced, and I thought he played magnificently well in the opening first half, the 40 minutes that he was on the field. He set up two of the three tries. So I think he’s in really, really good form.

Unfortunately for Quins, he had to leave just before half-time and really any hope of them winning the game went with him, because up stepped Billy Vunipola, who was absolutely imperious in this second half. He basically brought everything, he went through holes, smashing defenders out of the way and how about this for an offload (00:59 of the video)? That is incredible. And I think just he wss able to lift the tempo, lift the power of that performance; really good for Eddie Jones to have England’s two best No8s, they’re prominent No8s, going head-to-head. And let’s hope that injury to Dombrandt, hamstring I think, is not too serious.”