Harlequins have announced their team to head north and face Sale Sharks on Friday night and Alex Dombrandt’s absence has raised some questions.
The rampant loose forward has been on the bench for Quins’ past two matches, and this has caused some concern given the uncertainty over his future. While there are reports that the 22-year-old has signed a new deal at the Stoop, there are those that are still sceptical anything has happened, and his omission only fuels the suspicions of those on social media that his future lies elsewhere.
Tellingly, he also not listed as absent due to injury.
Why is Dombrant constantly being left out? Can’t be a good sign with the rumours he’s leaving ??
— Jack Gammans (@jgam89) January 2, 2020
Given his age and the reputation he has already got after a barnstorming debut season in 2018/19, there is likely to be a host of clubs that would want his signature.
Looking for Dombrandt in the team pic.twitter.com/XsflhlrNV3
— Joe Lynch (@JosephL17474542) January 2, 2020
Need to start 2020 with a win and start a good run in the league. Good to see @KyleSinckler back, hope the rumours about leaving are wrong, where is @Alex_dombrandt on the team sheet, and also hope the rumours about him leaving are wrong as well #COYQ
— Darren Over (@DarrenOver) January 2, 2020
However, some have simply put this down to squad rotation, which is an issue in the season after a Rugby World Cup. While Dombrandt did not make Eddie Jones’ squad to travel to Japan, he was in the training squads prior to the tournament, and played in the match against the Barbarians in May.
This would have compromised the mandatory five-week rest period players needed to be given, and as a result, players are going to be used sparingly throughout the season. After all, he started at No8 in both contests against Ulster in the Champions Cup, which were arguably Harlequins’ two biggest games this season to date.
With a call-up for the Six Nations looking very likely, Paul Gustard will also want to manage his players to ensure they are still firing on all cylinders come the end of the season. However, until something concrete is revealed about Dombrandt’s future, there will always be concerns amongst fans that they could be losing one of their most promising players.
Harlequins Starting XV:
1 Joe Marler (198)
2 Elia Elia (49)
3 Kyle Sinckler (143)
4 Stephan Lewies (11)
5 Matt Symons (35)
6 James Chisholm (80) (VC)
7 Chris Robshaw (286) (Captain)
8 Tom Lawday (11)
9 Danny Care (268) (VC)
10 Marcus Smith (71)
11 Vereniki Goneva (4)
12 Paul Lasike (14)
13 Cadan Murley (25)
14 Gabriel Ibitoye (31)
15 Ross Chisholm (114)
Not available due to injury: Forwards
One of Welsh Rugby’s biggest characters on and off the pitch, RugbyPass travelled to Brecon to see how life after rugby is treating Andy Powell.
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