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“We have a really good relationship off the field”-Alex Dombrandt on axis with Danny Care and Marcus Smith

The deadly trio of Dombrandt, Care and Smith are influential to the Quins success on the pitch; but Dombrandt feels it’s their off-field connection that makes them so good, Louis Chapman-Coombe reports

Harlequins and England number eight Alex Dombrandt says the key to the success of his axis with Quins clubmates Danny Care and Marcus Smith is their relationship off the pitch.

The trio are at the heart of the free-flowing Quins attack, and often link up for highlight reel moments in games, but Dombrandt detailed that their friendship away from rugby helps them build a good connection on it.

Speaking to Rugby Nause News Dombrandt said: “I think we have a really good relationship off the field, which then helps when you get on the field.”

Whilst he was quick to highlight the trio’s friendship, he also said playing together frequently has boosted their success.

“I think it obviously comes from a lot of playing together. We have a good of how each other play the game and I can almost anticipate the next move of DC and Marcus. We all get on really well and I think that shows on the pitch as well.”

The trio first properly came together in 2019, and have gone from strength to strength since; notably spearheading their team to the Premiership title in 2021. The trio have all had their own England issues too, however they were all selected to come off the bench in the final two Six Nations games and made a solid impact.

As Dombrandt mentioned, he feels he can predict the next moves of his half-backs, and he pointed to his own try at Big Game 15 as a prime example of how their ability to read each other’s game helps the team.

“We definitely understand each other’s game. You take the big game try for example; when I see DC skipping out, I know that he’s looking to exploit the space in behind so I gamble.”

“I think that comes from playing a lot together and definitely having that outlook on how we want to play the game definitely helps.”

The trio, like the rest of their Quins teammates, will be hoping for an improved performance this weekend following their 52-7 thrashing against local rivals Saracens.

The loss at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium saw Quins drop from second to fifth in the table; but they get the chance to make up for it this week as they face Bath, and it’s a challenge Dombrandt said his side are more than up for.

“[Training’s] been really good [this week],” he said. “We’ve taken the learnings from the weekend and really channelled that into progressing this week.”

“We had a good session yesterday to get the clarity for the week and we had a good hit out today. The boys are ready for the challenge ahead.”