Quins star Dombrandt enjoys dream England debut

So how would you want your opening minutes in an England debut to go?

How about being part of a forwards shove that secures a try within 90 seconds. Welcome to Test rugby Alex Dombrandt. There is every chance it won’t always be as plain sailing as this.

The Quins’ number eight has deserved his moment in the sun, which came against a porous Canada on Saturday. Those swashbuckling yard gains at the Stoop and driven ambition ensured his time with Eddie Jones’ chosen XV would come.

Even without the sense of this summer series being a strictly B-team event with a host of newcomers given first caps over the past two weeks because of the Lions tour, the 24-year-old Dombrandt seemed nailed-on to earn his chance.

He has been on the radar a while and played a big part in his club becoming Premiership champions this year.

He had a sighter of the try line in the second half, but could not quite find a team-mate when he was halted, but soon after, he slipped in fellow debutant Adam Radwan for the eighth try of the afternoon.

He has that slightly shuffling, ungainly look which suggests he simply shouldn’t be as mobile as he is, but looks can be deceptive. He packs a punch with ball in hand but can shift as well as seek out contact.

This was not on occasion where he was asked the same sort of questions he faces in confronting the Chiefs or the Sharks – it was nowhere near as technically difficult – but it was still a big moment for him across the A316 from his club’s home patch.

There are always nerves to conquer when it comes to playing in that famous white shirt with the red rose for the first time at the home of rugby, even with only 10,000 present.

Quins colleague Marcus Smith, making his second appearance following a try-scoring debut against USA last week, enjoyed himself hugely once more, potting five conversions out of five in the opening 25 minutes as England cut a swathe through decidedly modest opposition.

Two of the kicks were out wide on the right touchline but he still kicked perfectly and almost claimed an assist after an excellent bit of ball juggling at speed and kick ahead for Henry Slade to get a hand to the ball before it went dead – though with not enough control to claim the five points.

Smith went on to land 10 out of 10, one from out on the left touchline to prove he has the range and repertoire. It was another great day for him.

Joe Marchant came on for the last knockings to earn his sixth cap – making it three Quins players on the field, if only for a brief moment as Smith was withdrawn 15 minutes from time.

The fly-half left to a great ovation, having had one of those days with the boot where everything he touched turned to gold. A haul of 20 points added to the 13 last week has made this a great start to his full international career.

Canada were never less than shell-shocked, and looked certain from the very beginning to extend their run of defeats to 10 matches.

They had conceded more than 60 points in each of their past three Tests. Before the hour was out, they had repeated the unhappy statistic as front row Jamie Blamire went over for his hat-trick and try number nine.

They managed two first half tries but went pointless after the break as Dombrandt, Smith and England ran amok.