Former Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery names the most skilful forward he has coached

Jerry Flannery

Former Ireland international Jerry Flannery has named Harlequins number eight Alex Dombrandt as the most skilful forward he has ever coached.

Flannery has worked as a professional rugby coach since 2014, having spent five years with Munster as a scrum and forwards coach, before joining Harlequins in London last year as their line-out coach.

As a result, Flannery has worked with plenty of experienced internationals during his time as a coach, but Dombrandt, who has one England cap to his name, stands out in particular to the Irishman.

Flannery was speaking to the Belfast Telegraph about the 24-year-old and lauded the Englishman’s performances for Harlequins this year.

Jerry Flannery lauds Alex Dombrandt.

“He is probably the most skilful forward I have coached, ever. He is so good. You are never going to turn him into say, for instance, Tom Curry, who is a phenomenon around the tackle area,” Flannery said.

“Alex has done a lot of work on his defence. He reads the game really well and I thought the Bristol game (earlier this month) was incredible.

“He had four turnovers in that game – he stole the ball four times – and his tackle-count is up there because he reads the game really, really well. It was a real complete performance from him.

“From a technical point of view, he is always going to be known for being probably the most skilful number eight in world rugby.”

Alex Dombrandt’s career so far.

While Dombrandt has only won one cap for England so far – against Canada this summer – the talented number eight played a crucial role in Harlequins’ Gallagher Premiership triumph last season and has continued to impress for his club.

Dombrandt was included in Eddie Jones’ England squad for next month’s tests against Tonga, Australia and South Africa and could be in with a great chance of starting in the absence of Billy Vunipola.

The Harlequins man will be competing with fellow recently-capped number eight Callum Chick and the British and Irish Lions-capped Sam Simmonds, in a trio that have just 10 England caps between them.

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