Former England fly-half turned Sky Sports pundit Stuart Barnes has been blown away by a Wales U20 international.
Harlequins flanker Alex Dombrandt, who is noted for his powerful running and offloading game, has scored three tries in his seven appearances so far this season.
The 20-year-old forward had been playing for Cardiff Met RFC while studying at university before joining Quins in the summer.
Writing in The Times, Barnes said: “You may chortle at the suggestion that Harlequins’ Alex Dombrandt could even be considered for the 2023 World Cup, let alone the one racing towards us in Japan.
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) December 1, 2018
“A half-chuckle might have escaped me, too, as I typed that. After all, what happened to the ten-match Barnes rule? Never judge a player until he has double-figure digits’ worth of professional games to his name.
“I’ll tell you what happened to it. When someone so suited to the style of the national team turns up on a Friday night against Exeter Chiefs, you rip the rules up. Isn’t that the point of a law?
“Against one of the top two sides in England, Dombrandt delivered a performance that was tailor-made for the way that England play. His dramatic carrying game is made for Jones and his team.
“I am not suggesting that he is the best blind-side flanker in the country. I have only watched him closely the once. But on the grounds of that game, he is without doubt one of the most natural ball-carrying players available to Jones.
“Conservatives will say it is mad to bring a kid into the squad after so little professional experience. Thinking of how England want to play, I’d say it would be insane to ignore him.”