England rugby star Alex Dombrandt has opened up on the brutal incidents that saw him pulled from playing in the Welsh club game and consider quitting the sport.
Harlequins number eight Dombrandt is set to be one of the stars of England's autumn campaign after being called up to Eddie Jones' squad, with veteran Billy Vunipola dropped.
Dombrandt's rise to the top of the game began when he joined Cardiff Met University in 2015. Such was his talent he actually played every game of Wales U20s Six Nations campaign in 2017. Despite having no links to Wales he was allowed to represent the Welsh side due to his student residency in Cardiff.
But, appearing on The Good, The Bad and The Rugby podcast, he spoke in detail about the darker incidents of his time in Wales.
Dombrandt had his jaw broken twice representing the Cardiff Met side, who he played for in the BUCS university competition and the Welsh Championship.
Both of the incidents happened when playing Glynneath in the Welsh Championship, and they left him doubting whether he wanted to continue pursuing his rugby career.
The first controversy saw a Glynneath player given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for two years and ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation.
Dombrandt's second broken jaw came at the start of the 2017-18 season, also against Glynneath.
"In my first year and third year there was an unsavoury incident both times," he said.
"In the first game I had my back turned and got punched from behind. I wasn't expecting it at all. Both times I broke my jaw, had to have surgery and was on a liquid diet for five weeks and I had to have four plates in there.
"The first time completely dislodged it and the second time was a break. The police were involved both times and it was tough.
"The first time you think it is never going to happen again so you just crack on with it.
"The second time it happened, there were complications with an infection. That was in the Welsh Championship so after the second time I sat down with my coach and said I think it's best if I don't play in that league.
"Unfortunately, in that league we are Cardiff Met so we're a student team so people think 'we'll go and try and bully them and they will cave in'. Unfortunately you get a minority who take it into their own hands.
"It's not great. Unfortunately the two linesmen are from a club so when the ref is not looking you're not getting done for anything.
"The first time the guy got a suspended sentence and had to pay me some compensation because he pleaded guilty."
The second incident saw Dombrandt have to attend court, where the opposition player was eventually found not guilty of a criminal offence.
"The second time it was tough. To be fair, the university were great in terms of looking after my work and giving me extensions," he said.
"It got to the point when it was like 'is it worth it? What if it happens again, I can't be arsed to go through it and all the stuff that goes with it'.
"But then making the decision to not play in that again, I was happy with that decision and just cracked on with it."
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Dombrandt also revealed his career could have taken a different path, and resulted in him becoming Welsh qualified, after he held talks with three Welsh regions while still in university.
"I had some interest from Welsh clubs when I was there. I spoke to Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Dragons. The most serious one was with the Blues at the end of my last year but it would have meant I would have had to leave uni.
"I'd just started my last year and I really wanted to finish my degree so I politely declined that offer. Luckily I sent my clips off to a few clubs and Harlequins came back to say they were interested and they offered me a contract."
Dombrandt won his first England cap against Canada in the summer and is now expected to be a crucial part of the new-look England team heading towards the 2023 World Cup.