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The post-tour change Irish have seen in new England cap Arundell

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Will Russell/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Declan Kidney had given his verdict on what becoming a newly capped England player has done for the teenage Henry Arundell now that he is back at London Irish. The 19-year-old brewed up a storm towards the end of the 2021/22 season, showcasing his potency in the Gallagher Premiership and then scoring a wonder European Challenge Cup try away at Toulon.

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That glimpse of talent was enough to persuade England boss Eddie Jones to select him for the senior tour to Australia and he went on to get capped three times off the bench, even scoring on his debut appearance in Perth.

Arundell only experienced a total of 26 minutes of Test rugby but Kidney explained that being in and around the England environment has given the youngster every incentive to now go on and start the club season well at London Irish to ensure he earns another Test squad invite for the upcoming Autumn Nations Series in November.

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“He has got confidence in the way he has come back,” said Kidney to RugbyPass at the official launch of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season. “He gained out of that tour, he gained by seeing what it takes.

“If he had gone on the U20s tour (with England) he would have played more minutes, so he needs a combination of both. It is like any young man who goes on tour and the good thing is he got a few minutes but he didn’t get a lot so he is hungry.”

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Arundell made ten Premiership and Challenge Cup appearances last term for Irish in his breakthrough season, along with another four games in the Premiership Cup which culminated in an appearance in the final versus Worcester. Much of what was seen from the teenager was highlights reel stuff and Irish boss Kidney is now looking forward to finding out in the coming months what an average Arundell performance is like.

“He is a player who has still only got 400 minutes under his belt, so he is doing exceptionally well. He had an injury two and a half years ago that would have knocked most people back for a long time but he managed to work his way through that, come back into the game and play.

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“He is a very level-headed young man but the bottom line is he still has only played 400 minutes of first-team rugby. He needs to play more and he will have some Irish games and they are the ones that in some ways I am really looking forward to, seeing how good his average game is.”

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Nickers 1 hours ago
'One of the poorest All Blacks performances I've seen in a long time'

Extreme hyperbole from Biggar. NZ have played far, far worse than that. The 20/21 team was by far the worst of the professional era. Losses to Argentina, shambolic game against Japan and hapless NH tour of 2021. But even that dreadful team were able to put 50 points on Wales and beat them by 38. Much easier to “tear them to pieces” from the commentary box apparently. Ignored by virtually everyone is how good the ABs defence was. That is why England didn’t win, they simply could not score enough points against that defence. The ABs attack was very average, but their defence was world class and that’s what won them the game. Any Wales team that Biggar has ever played for would have found themselves in the same situation and would definitely not have scored tries from those cross kicks. That ABs team beats Biggar’s best Wales team 31 - 13. England’s attack was as good as it was allowed to be by a superior defence. Hats off to Hansen, he has picked up where MacLeod finally got the ABs to last year and not missed a step. England’s attack will be a big worry for Borthwick. They have not established a reliable, repeatable way to break teams down and score points. They were held to some very low scores by average teams in the 6N, and again here didn’t cross 20 points on either occasion. If I was an England fan I would be crying out for a new attack coach. Borthwick would do well to cast his net now, a poor home winter with a faltering attack will start the calls for his job.

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T
Thomas 1 hours ago
'Champions get up when they can't': Matt Williams weighs in on Ireland's win over Boks

While both teams have their particular positives, I think neither team should rest on their laurels. South Africa managed to tie a series against an uncomfortable opponent, that has had their numbers for a couple of years, while trial-running a completely new attack system, that still doesn’t work properly. But one aspect of “it doesn’t work yet” is a transition from attack to defense in broken play, as the Boks leaked three tries in two matches this way, and lost the second match as a result. Ireland avoided a series loss in a hostile environment, and in spite of many key player injuries, while managing to significantly improve and tighten their defense in game 2 (which demonstrates the breadth of their squad as well as their ability to adjust and recalibrate). At the same time, their own attack hadn’t amounted to much, either (save from exploiting the gaps in the Boks’ new system, gaps that won’t be there anymore in a few months’ time), and they haven’t found an answer to the Boks scrum, which almost costed them the 2nd match, if it hadn’t been for pretty much unrepeatable Frawley heroics. In the end, there isn’t much that separates those two sides … which is exactly what we knew before the series already. Back to the drawing board for both teams, the work only just begins for two teams with the highest ambition. Start of a cycle alright.

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