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Dombrandt issue hangs over Jones

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Last thing Eddie Jones needed was Dombrandt winning an award on same day he was ignored by England

That reaction after Harlequins No8 Alex Dombrandt was named the Gallagher Premiership player of the month on Wednesday has been unsurprising. 

The 22-year-old was in rampant form throughout January – and indeed the past year – at the back of Harlequins scrum, and this latest award has only fanned the flames of the campaign for him to play for England. 

The No8 made the most line breaks of any player across Europe in January, while also making the most metres of any forward in the Premiership (via OptaJonny), but he has shown this kind of form all season. 

However, to the bemusement of the majority of England fans, Eddie Jones has not selected a No8 this Six Nations in the absence of the injured Billy Vunipola. 

He has instead chosen to fashion flanker Tom Curry into a No8, which has not been wholly accepted. This is not only because the Sale Sharks youngster is a world-class flanker, but there are many talented No8s at Jones’ disposal in great form. 

Exeter Chiefs’ Sam Simmonds is another player that has also been overlooked to the dismay of many. 

Jones has named his 25-man squad for training this week ahead of the contest against Ireland the following weekend, and he has still opted for a back row devoid of a specialist No8.

The Australian has his reasons for doing this, and many of his controversial calls have paid off in the past, but Dombrandt’s form means it is growing increasingly difficult for Jones to justify omitting him. This latest award will only increase the pressure.  

The Harlequins forward did play against the Barbarians last year for England, catching the eye of many fans in that performance, and was part of the World Cup training squad. However, he has not been part of Jones’ plans since then with the coach citing his workrate as a reason for this.

But as the surging No8 continues to terrorise defences in England, the argument that he should be playing for his country becomes more compelling. 

WATCH: The Rugby Pod reflects on round two of the Guinness Six Nations

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Last thing Eddie Jones needed was Dombrandt winning an award on same day he was ignored by England
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