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Alex Dombrandt to make England Test debut against Canada


Alex Dombrandt
Dombrandt’s powerful running game has brought him 11 tries in Harlequins successful Premiership campaign
Date: Saturday 10 July Kick-off: 15:00 BST Venue: Twickenham

Harlequins’ Premiership-winning number eight Alex Dombrandt will make his Test debut for England against Canada on Saturday.

Flankers Sam Underhill and Lewis Ludlow, who again captains the side, complete the back row.

Lock Harry Wells, centre Dan Kelly and wing Adam Radwan win their first caps.

Marcus Smith and Harry Randall continue their half-back partnership after last weekend’s 43-29 win over the United States.

Kelly lines up alongside Exeter’s Henry Slade in the midfield, with Joe Marchant on the bench. Ollie Lawrence, who came off in the 35th minute of the win over the US after a clash of heads, is left out of the matchday squad, with Max Malins also unavailable through injury.

Newcastle hooker Jamie Blamire makes his first England start after scoring on debut as a replacement last weekend.

“He was right down to the last throes of our World Cup squad in 2019,” head coach Eddie Jones told BBC Sport of Dombrandt.

“He has quite a unique style for a number eight. He has great running skills. He sees space well in the defence line and is able to pick a hole.

“But there are some non-negotiables that you have to do at number eight. His defence and his capacity to work hard in the game have improved immeasurably.

“Alex does it a different way and that is why we are keen to give him the opportunity to do it at a high level.”

A first cap for Dombrandt, who scored two tries for England in a non-Test encounter with the Barbarians in June 2019, marks a rise from playing university rugby with Cardiff Metropolitan to the international game.

The 24-year-old has been a key part of Harlequins’ successful title push, scoring 11 tries – including scores in their play-off wins over Bristol and Exeter – in 24 appearances.

He made the second-highest number of metres of any forward in the English top flight, second to only Exeter and Lions back row Sam Simmonds.

Canada suffered a 68-12 defeat by Wales last Saturday in their first match in more than 20 months.

England: Steward; Cokanasiga, Slade, Kelly, Radwan; Smith, Randall; Genge, Blamire, Heyes, Wells, Ewels, Ludlow (capt), Underhill, Dombrandt.

Replacements: Langdon, Obano, Hill, Chick, Ludlam, Robson, Furbank, Marchant

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