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The obvious question Henry Arundell hat-trick raises

By Ian Cameron
Racing92's English full-back Henry Arundell runs for a try during the French Top14 rugby union match between Toulon and Racing92 at the Mayol stadium in Toulon on November 12, 2023. (Photo by Christophe SIMON / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

Racing 92 debutant Henry Arundell has left England rugby fans contemplating what might have been after securing a hat-trick of tries against Toulon at Stade Mayol over the weekend.

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It took the emerging star just 36 minutes to score his first try and it was followed by two more before the 80 minutes were up.

The talented winger’s journey to the Parisian club followed London Irish’s administration filing in June, necessitating a change in scenery for the rising star.

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Stormers head coach John Dobson on his long-term injury list

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Stormers head coach John Dobson on his long-term injury list

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Premiership Rugby uphold a stringent rule requiring England players to ply their trade in the Premiership. In a rare departure from this norm, Arundell was granted “special circumstances” to maintain eligibility for the upcoming 2024 Six Nations due to the abrupt shift in his playing environment.

Arundell’s exceptional performance against Toulon, marked by a signature weaving run through the opposition’s defense for his initial try, further underscores what impact he may have had for England at the Rugby World Cup.

The speedster was limited to just two games across the tournament, despite the mediocre form of ageing teammate Jonny May. Despite the limited opportunities he already has seven tries in just 10 appearances for England, including a remarkable five on his World Cup debut against Chile.

He didn’t play again until the third-place play-off victory over Argentina, with rumours that a row with England captain Owen Farrell rumoured to have hurt his selection chances with Steve Borthwick.

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Opta Johnny wrote on X: “Henry Arundell scored the first hat-trick of this season’s TOP 14 versus Toulon, making him the first England player to score three plus tries in a Top 14 match since Chris Ashton in March 2018 – he has now scored eight tries in his last three starts for club and country.”

Andy Goode wrote: “Henry Arundell scores a hat trick for Racing 92 against Toulon tonight on debut. Amazing what happens when you give talent a chance and the ball!”

Arundell played for the London Irish academy during the initial phase of his career before making his senior debut for London Irish in the Premiership in 2021 at the age of just 19.

Arundell’s talent is such a blindingly obvious one that many England fans have been left wondering what it is he needs to do to lock down a permanent place on Borthwick’s starting team. One might expect that even a coach as conservative as Borthwick will be forced into starting the winger.

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14 Comments
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Jon 224 days ago

3 fairly easy tries for a pacey winger with some muscle

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