The giddy prediction England have made about Henry Arundell
Steve Borthwick has insisted he is right to hand Henry Arundell his first England Test start at the age of just 20 in Saturday’s massive Grand Slam decider versus Ireland. The unbeaten Irish are raging hot favourites to complete a championship clean sweep for just the fourth time in their history against an English team that has limped into Dublin on the back of their humiliating 53-10 home defeat to France.
Borthwick reacted by making four changes to his starting team and he claimed he has no qualms over including the rookie Arundell at the expense of Max Malins. The London Irish youngster burst onto the international scene when scoring a try with his first touch when debuting off the bench versus Australia last July.
He was capped twice more as a sub on that tour and having since recovered from a serious foot injury that required an operation, he has now been backed for his first England start after three more appearances off the bench, cameos that included a try versus Italy in Six Nations round two and that bizarre, token 80th-minute introduction in the following round in Wales.
While his match minutes have been restricted, Borthwick claimed that what he had seen on the training ground in Pennyhill was the reason why England have now handed Arundell his maiden Test start. “He is a young player with an enormous future in front of him,” he reckoned.
“It is really important that we think he is the right player to play in this game. We have seen glimpses of him. Unfortunately for the first half of this season, he has not played an awful lot of rugby due to injury but seeing what he has been producing in training, he is an incredibly exciting player.
“You see a number of young players that are experiencing substantial game time in the Six Nations for the first time. It’s Henry’s first Six Nations, JVP (Jack van Poortvliet), Alex Mitchell, Ollie Lawrence, Alex (Dombrandt), Lewis (Ludlam), Ben Curry and these guys – this is enormous for us to really understand where we are and what we need to prioritise.
“Henry is a very composed, calm young man and he has got the capability to excel in international rugby.”
Handing Arundell just his seventh cap in preference of giving Malins what would have been his 18th underlined the element of inexperience existing in some areas of Borthwick’s England XV against a more experienced Ireland. However, the coach insisted his England team will be up for the challenge after last week’s harrowing loss to France.
“We know what a good side they [Ireland] are and you can see that, I think it is over 1,000 caps they have got in their 23. The experience they have got is enormous. We know we are going to have to be much improved from last week and I know the players are determined to put in that much-improved performance. Their attitude has been excellent.”
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The south African side is a weak side..the kiwi would be saying this three or four years ago when the boks were at their bestGo to comments
What a joke! And Owen Farrell, a repeat offender only gots 4 weeks for his last head contact, shoulder chargeGo to comments