- Arundell ruled out of international duty until 2026
- England Wing signs new deal with Racing 92
- RFU ruling states that only players based in England will be eligible for selection
Henry Arundell, has inked a contract extension with the French club Racing 92, potentially sidelining him from playing for the England national team until 2026. Arundell had initially joined Racing 92 on a one-year contract in July following the financial struggles and administration of London Irish.
RFU ruling deals England a blow ahead of Six Nations
As per the current Rugby Football Union (RFU) regulations, only players based in England are eligible for selection to the national team. Despite winning 10 caps and making his senior England debut in July 2022, Arundell’s contract extension with Racing 92 raises questions about his future international appearances. He notably played a key role in England’s World Cup squad, securing a bronze medal and scoring five tries in a pivotal pool-stage victory against Chile.
Laurent Travers, the president of Racing 92, expressed confidence in Arundell, noting his alignment with the club’s short and medium-term objectives and praising his qualities as a competitor and his maturity. The contract extension indicates Racing 92’s belief in Arundell as a significant asset to their team.
It had been thought that Arundell, 21, would be eligible for the upcoming Six Nations tournament, scheduled to begin in February. RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney had hinted in October that special circumstances arising from the London Irish situation might permit Arundell to participate in the tournament.
The news follows on from England captain Owen Farrell opting to withdraw from the Six Nations to prioritise his and his family’s mental well-being.
At the time of writing, England are third favourites for the Six Nations behind France and Ireland. Currently Coral have England priced at 7/1 with the French 11/10 and Ireland 6/5. Scotland and Wales are priced at 16/1 and 20/1 respectively while Italy are outsiders at 500/1.
Arundell may not be an automatic choice, but he is a big favourite among the fanbase and has the ability to to turn a match. At 21 he is very much viewed as part of England’s future. His absence will greatly reduce Steve Borthwick’s side’s options.
Farrell, meanwhile, is an important player for England as a leader and as a playmaker from fly-half. His absence from the Six Nations campaign will undoubtedly be a blow to England’s hopes. However, despite Farrell’s superb performances he has, at times, divided opinion among the fanbase with some believing that the team have looked better with George Ford at fly-half and that Ford and Farrell do not gel in the same line-up.
Bettors need to assess the impact of Arundell and Farrell being unavailable for selection when making their Six Nations picks.
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