Henry Arundell is no longer eligible to play for England due to his commitment to Racing 92 until 2026.
Henry Arundell’s eligibility for England will be suspended until June 2026 due to his recent contract extension with Racing 92 being officially announced.
Arundell has had a successful beginning in Paris and has agreed to continue playing for Stuart Lancaster’s team for two more seasons, which means he will not be available for Steve Borthwick’s team. The 21-year-old’s choice to stay with Racing is a major setback for the Rugby Football Union, who wanted to use him as the face of the new “hybrid” contracts that will be implemented next season.
Arundell had the chance to join Bath, with the RFU topping up his salary as one of 25 players over whom Borthwick will be able to exercise greater control, but has chosen to continue learning his craft under Lancaster instead.
Arundell joined Racing after the World Cup following the demise of London Irish last summer. Initially he had expected to be available for the coming Six Nations by taking advantage of the RFU’s exceptional circumstances loophole but, encouraged to make a decision on his long-term future before the championship, Borthwick will now be unable to pick one of English rugby’s most exciting talents. Borthwick even paid Arundell, who scored five tries in one match against Chile at the World Cup, a visit in Paris last month, but failed to convince him to return to England.
“Our club president, Laurent Travers, expressed his joy in seeing Henry’s continued dedication to Racing 92. Despite only joining us a few weeks ago, Henry has already displayed superb qualities as a competitor and shown great maturity. He aligns perfectly with our club’s goals for the near and distant future, and we have full confidence that he will play a crucial role in achieving them.”
The RFU has created hybrid contracts in order to improve Borthwick’s year-round management of his players. However, they have also become a way to retain England’s top players in the Premiership, as more and more are seeking opportunities abroad.
Arundell, along with other members from the England World Cup team such as Joe Marchant, David Ribbans, Jack Willis, Jack Nowell, Sam Simmonds, Joe Simmonds, and Jack Singleton, has joined the Top 14 league this season. Lewis Ludlam is anticipated to join Toulon in the upcoming season, while Maro Itoje and Kyle Sinckler are reportedly contemplating their choices.