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Racing 92 statement: Henry Arundell one of nine new 2023/24 signings

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Alex Davidson/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Ex-England boss Stuart Lancaster has pulled off a coup, convincing rising star Henry Arundell to join him in his new project at Racing 92. Having finished up his lengthy stint as senior coach at Leinster in Ireland, Lancaster has now started work as director of rugby with the Parisian club.

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One of his first tasks was to bring in Arundell, the seven-cap 20-year-old who became a free agent when London Irish fell into administration in early June.

The services of the youngster have been in high demand in recent weeks and after it was confirmed by England on Friday that Arundell was part of their 41-strong training squad for the upcoming Rugby World Cup, it has since emerged that he will be staying on in France after the tournament to play in the 2023/24 Top 14 season.

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Arundell is one of nine new signings by the Parisian club, who have also recruited three new staff members to work under Lancaster – including Paul Stridgeon, the ex-Wales head of S&C, and former France out-half Freddie Michalak.

A statement read: “Racing 92 are pleased to announce the signing of nine players and new members of the sports staff for next season. They will contribute to enriching the squad of the professional team under the chairmanship of Laurent Travers, who will take over as chairman of the management board from July 1.

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“Racing will return to the Top 14 fields from August 19 and the Champions Cup from December 8. The players joining for the 2023/2024 season are:

  • Henry Arundell (full-back) until 2024;
  • James Hall (scrum-half) until 2025;
  • Siya Kolisi (back row) until 2026;
  • Thomas Laclayat (prop) until 2027;
  • Clovis Le Bail (scrum-half) until 2026;
  • Wame Naituvi (winger) until 2026;
  • Will Rowlands (lock) until 2026;
  • Tristan Tedder (out-half) until 2025;
  • Josua Tuisova (winger) until 2026.

“Back row Jordan Joseph, after a successful loan to Pau, will also return to the Racing squad.

“Under the direction of the new director of rugby Stuart Lancaster, the sports and technical staff has recorded the arrivals of Frederic Michalak (backline coach), Paul Stridgeon (head of physical preparation) and Tom Whiteford (team manager). They complete the sports staff alongside Dimitri Szarzewski (forwards coach) and Joe Rokocoko (skills coach).

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“At the epilogue of this 2022/23 season, Racing warmly thanks all the players and staff members who leave the club. We thank them for their involvement and team spirit and wish them success in the rest of their sporting and professional careers.

“Thanks to Briac Poussin, Michel Miro, Gilbert Gascou, Rory Teague, Didier Casadei, Philippe Doussy, Biyi Alo, Asaeli Tuivaka, Jon Maiau, Warrick Gelant, Anton Bresler, Ali Oz, Ben Volavola, Teddy Iribaren, Finn Russell and Louis Dupichot.

Seven players have extended their adventure at Racing. They are Olivier Klemenczak (centre) until 2024, Boris Palu (lock) until 2025, Francis Saili (centre) until 2024, Donovan Taofifenua (winger) until 2025, Christian Wade (winger) until 2024, Wenceslas Lauret (back row) as World Cup joker until November 2023, and Thomas Moukouro (prop) until 2025. Having arrived at 13 years old, Thomas went through all the categories at youths level and joined the training centre in 2018.”

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B.J. Spratt 10 minutes ago
Jono Gibbes' reaction to France U20s putting 55 points on New Zealand

Unfortunately New Zealand Rugby has lost over 25% + of players between 12-18 over the last 3-5 years, possibly more. Poor administration and a Shocking Public Perception about the NZRFU has finally caught up with these dinosaurs. 66% of N.Z. Population lives North of Hamilton and 52% of Auckland population are Asian, who would rather play football. Rugby is dying while other Sports are growing. The rules need to change around the collision/tackle but personally I think the absolute “Arrogance and Stupidity” that the NZRFU has demonstrated over the decades, “with their jobs for the boys attitude” has led to their demise. A Professional Players Union that can somehow “Disassociate itself from the “Old men with bad breath and dandruff” that is the NZRFU, will be a huge challenge. Personally I think it’s far too late to recover and rejuvenate interest in Rugby by young players. Rugby is booming in France and that’s the difference. A booming Professional domestic League. NZRFU are “Not fit for purpose” and have no idea about commercial reality My kids generation would rather their kids don’t play Rugby. Very aware of CTE and the NZRFU arrogance and stupidity, in denying its existence. Finally, the NZRFU have managed to cover up ”Numerous serious crimes over the decades, committed by players, coaches and administrators simply because the tentacles of their “Power and Influence” have reached all sectors of New Zealand Society, including the Judiciary, Politicians, Police and Big business. Denying CTE even exists is a “no brainer for them”

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