Millard praises Dombrandt’s response to England snub as Quins beat Chiefs

Millard praises Dombrandt’s response to England snub as Quins beat Chiefs

Harlequins director of rugby Billy Millard heaped praise on Alex Dombrandt for bouncing back from the disappointment of being left out of the England World Cup squad to lead his side to a hard-fought first victory of this season’s Gallagher Premiership.

Millard admitted missing out on selection by Steve Borthwick took its toll on the 26-year-old but that he’s turned that into motivation to perform for his club.

“He’s been awesome,” Millard said, live on TNT Sports. “Yeah, he’s struggled for a few weeks, but I think the last two weeks, he’s keeping his head square in the carry.

“And he leads in a pretty unique way. He’s our talisman and he’s only young and he’s getting better and better.

“That experience with England has really made him have a look at himself and come back and he’s performing really well.”

TNT Sports pundit and former England international Alex Goode was also impressed with how Dombrandt has stepped up in the absence of Joe Marler and Danny Care, both of whom travelled to France with the national team.

“I think it’s really important for those guys who were younger guys before to step up and start building into that leadership role,” Goode said. “It doesn’t happen straight away.

“And so for him, he’s seen Danny and Joe and others be leaders and it’s now his time to take his team forward while they’re away.

“And I just thought today, particularly in his actions, just in key moments like in the 22 with that big carry, gets on the front for an easy exit, [and made] turnovers at the right time.

“It wasn’t massive breaks or big offloads, it was just doing the basics very well again and again and that is leadership for others to follow.”

Baxter rues ‘missed opportunities’

The young squad displayed plenty of attacking flair but far too often failed to convert with the try line looming, something that director of rugby Rob Baxter said the players would learn from.

“Harlequins may say the same as well, it felt like a game of missed opportunities to be fair,” Baxter said. “We were held up over the line, numerous breaks where it looked like if one pass sticks it’s a try. And to be fair, that’s how we would adjust with the players.

“We’re getting there. There’s a lot of our game is functioning, a lot of our game is threatening the opposition, and I suppose all we got to do is learn to be precise but that will only come with practice and experience.

“We had numerous guys out there, some of whom were the guys who made mistakes, this is their second or third Premiership game.

“We’ve come away, good crowd, Harlequins challenged us as well, and mistakes can happen, and those mistakes have cost us in the end.”

The visitors were also dealt a blow in the first half when star-man Josh Hodge took a knock and had to replaced, with Baxter providing an update on the extent of the full-back’s injury.

“It is a dislocated elbow,” Baxter said. “They can range in severity. They can be pretty bad or they can be fairly recoverable. We will get him scanned in the morning and know more then.”

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