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'A no-brainer to extend': Arundell agrees to new London Irish deal

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Teen sensation Henry Arundell has committed to an unspecified length, long-term contract at London Irish. It was May 13, after the initial wave of hype has materialised about the 19-year-old, when the Gallagher Premiership club’s director of rugby Declan Kidney insisted to RugbyPass that the scorer of that incredible length-of-field try at Toulon in the Challenge Cup wouldn’t be going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

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“We have never divulged contract situations of different players but he is here with us,” said the DoR when asked last month about the youngster’s future in the coming seasons. Having since been called up by Eddie Jones and taken part in two England camps ahead of their June 19 fixture versus the Barbarians, the profile of Arundell has increased even more.

However, unlike Phil Cokanasiga, the 20-year-old who has quit London Irish for Leicester next season, Arundell believes his future is best served with the Exiles and has now agreed to a new contract. A club statement read: “London Irish is delighted to confirm the signature of full-back Henry Arundell to a long-term contract with the club.

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“Arundell has had a stellar inaugural season with the Exiles’ first team, making 14 appearances in green whilst scoring seven tries. He started life at Hazelwood as a 14-year-old, joining the academy whilst studying at the Harrow School to go on and win the U18 Academy League title.

“Making his Irish debut in a 29-20 win against Saracens in the Premiership Rugby Cup last November, Arundell has since attained his first playing berths and scored in the Gallagher Premiership and EPCR Challenge Cup.

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“The 19-year-old has also continued his development in the England international set-up, making his debut in the U20s side in their 2022 Six Nations campaign, becoming the joint-highest try-scorer in the tournament with four. The Irish prospect played an instrumental role in the club’s domestic and continental cup runs this season, contributing scores to vital try bonus points in the pool stages of each tournament whilst registering a brace against Leicester Tigers in the Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final.

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“Arundell was nominated for the Rugby Players Association’s 15 U23 award for April and was the player of the match in the comeback Irish draw against Wasps in round 24 of the Gallagher Premiership. Henry was also crowned the Land Rover discovery of the season at the 2021/22 Premiership Rugby end-of-season awards.”

Kidney said: “Henry has given a good account of himself during his first season with senior rugby. He has worked hard on the training pitch, and we have seen his efforts pay off. We are delighted that his development will continue with London Irish, and we are excited to help him on his journey.”

Arundell added: “It was a no-brainer to extend my time at London Irish. The club has given me so much already in my young career and I want to repay their faith in me in the years to come. With the squad and coaches that we have at London Irish, the future is exciting and I’m very happy to get the chance to be a part of it.”

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