RFU statement: Henry Arundell and 2024 Six Nations
Henry Arundell is set to be available for England’s Six Nations campaign next year, with the Rugby Football Union hopeful he will make a swift return to the Gallagher Premiership.
RFU policy is that players at overseas clubs can only be picked in ‘exceptional circumstances’ and Arundell’s situation is considered to be in that bracket for a period of 12 months from the date Irish collapsed.
But the electric 20-year-old wing, who plundered five tries in the World Cup match against Chile last month, would have to return to the Premiership for the 2024-25 season if he is to be considered after that.
It is a different story for Jack Willis, however, as his decision to re-sign with Toulouse in the wake of his emergency move from Wasps – who also went bust – means he will not be allowed to take part in the Six Nations.
“Any players who went abroad as an outcome of their clubs going out of business and who needed to find employment overseas as a result will be available for the Six Nations in 2024,” RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said.
“We want the best English players playing in England. In Henry’s case, he will be available for the 2024 Six Nations and then we will work very hard with him and with the Premiership, so that hopefully he can get a contract to come back to England.”
The RFU expects to have Arundell’s availability signed off by the Professional Game Board in the coming weeks.
Willis was ruled out of the World Cup last week because of a neck injury and RFU executive director of performance rugby Conor O’Shea confirmed that, because the flanker’s 12-month period from Wasps going out of business had elapsed when he agreed fresh terms with Toulouse, he is off limits for Borthwick.
Meanwhile, Sweeney refuses to draw satisfaction from Australia crashing out of the group stage of the World Cup for the first time in their history.
Eddie Jones took over the Wallabies as head coach, having been sacked from the same role with England in December, but his short reign has been a disaster and he has already faced questions over his future.
“We don’t take any particular joy or enjoyment out of Australia’s current situation,” Sweeney said.
“We also need to show a little bit of respect for Eddie – he was England’s longest-serving coach on seven years.
“We had three Six Nations Championship with him, a Grand Slam, and he took us to a Rugby World Cup final.
“We don’t take any pleasure whatsoever at what they’re going through at the moment.”