Eddie Jones has named a 28-man England training squad ahead of a three-day camp this week, and it is Harlequins players that have been at the centre of attention.
It is a squad that does not have players from Exeter Chiefs, Wasps, Bristol Bears, Bath, Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors, as the final two face each other on Wednesday. However, there are still plenty of established names called up, as well as 12 uncapped players.
But much of the discussion online has been surrounding the Harlequins players that have, or perhaps more significantly have not, been selected.
No8 Alex Dombrandt’s call-up is one that has been welcomed, as he was one of the notable omissions throughout the Six Nations. The 23-year-old is yet to win an England cap despite his remarkable form for Quins since arriving at the Stoop in 2018.
Jones has voiced his concerns over Dombrandt’s work rate in the past, but may have seen an improvement since the season’s restart after outlining what he wanted to see from him.
About time Dombrandt got called up
— Sonnie Laight (@LaightByName) October 5, 2020
Great to see Alex Dombrandt get a crack. Been impressive at Quins.
— Andy Cane (@Sheringham999) October 5, 2020
Pleased to see Dombrandt in there
In contrast, I think Ben Youngs has had a fair run, time to give someone else a go. Someone fleet of foot and thought who can pass accurately would be perfect
Would also be amazing to unearth a NZ style attacking fly half who troubles defenses
— Richard Urban (@RMU1979) October 5, 2020
About time @Alex_dombrandt got the call.
— Jeff Revell (@Jeffrev1) October 5, 2020
Finally and well deserved for Dombrandt ?? https://t.co/yREjShlMLg
— Elz (@elegant_elz) October 5, 2020
— Natalie Exley (@nexley28) October 5, 2020
Dombrandt’s teammate Marcus Smith is a surprise absence, however, after appearing to be a player that Jones had earmarked for the future. Indeed it was the Barbarians fixture last year that Smith took to wearing the Red Rose with aplomb.
The precocious 21-year-old was missing from Harlequins’ last game of the season at the weekend, which may be the cause of this decision, but with Owen Farrell and George Ford already in the squad, some are speculating that Jones has set his sights on Exeter’s Joe Simmonds and Wasps’ Jacob Umaga.
Shocked no call up for Marcus Smith @02msmith
— Tom (@rugbytomc) October 5, 2020
Marcus Smith has been infinitely better than George ford has this season
— Jake Turnbull (@JakeRTurnbull) October 5, 2020
Surprised not to see Smith not in there as well.
— Nicky Green (@Nickyquin) October 5, 2020
Marcus smith should be on every squad Eddie puts forward. I agree, Ford over rated and Farrell is the worst example of a leader.
— Felicity_Anne (@felicity_anne04) October 5, 2020
Elsewhere, Joe Marchant has made a return to the England squad after his stint in New Zealand with the Blues earlier this year, while Nathan Earle is called up to the national squad for the first time since he ruptured his ACL in 2019. Tighthead prop Simon Kerrod will also make his first appearance in the squad.
England start their autumn against the Barbarians on 25 October, followed by their Six Nations encounter with Italy and the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup.
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