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The Wallabies legend Jones likens 'desire to attack' Arundell to

By Liam Heagney
(Photo montage by Tom Parker)

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Eddie Jones has explained why new England call-up Henry Arundell reminds him of the legendary Matt Giteau, the 39-year-old who brought the curtain down on his 103-cap Test career with the Wallabies in 2016.  It was Jones who handed Giteau his Test debut in 2002 just two months after his 20th birthday and he has now sung the praises of a fast-rising 19-year-old Englishman who has shot to fame in recent weeks with his live television exploits for London Irish. 

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Arundell was awarded the man of the match for igniting a Gallagher Premiership comeback as a replacement that saw his team bounce back from being 25 points down to draw with Wasps last month. The following Sunday he again came off the bench to run the length of the field to score an amazing solo try in a narrow one-point Challenge Cup defeat at Toulon. 

England boss Jones was present at the Irish versus Wasps game in Brentford and he visited the club’s training ground in the days after. It led to Arundell getting included as one of ten uncapped players in his 36-man training squad for next week’s mini-training camp in London and the head coach explained on Tuesday what had caught his eye about the youngster.   

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The Breakdown | Episode 13 | Sky Sport NZ
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The Breakdown | Episode 13 | Sky Sport NZ

“There has been a fair bit of publicity about the young boy from London Irish but we will just wait and see,” he enthused about Arundell, who has been involved with England at age-grade level.

“We watched him during the 20s, he was impressive in the 20s. He has got exceptional pace, he probably reminds me a lot of Matt Giteau in terms of his desire to attack. Not the way he plays but his desire to attack. 

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“I was particularly impressed when I went out and watched him play against Wasps. The first ball that was kicked to him he knocked it on cold, so it wasn’t a great start. There was all this hoo-ha about him being a fantastic player and he knocks the ball on cold. The next ball he gets he gets a long pass, sees backspace, chips and scores and that is the sort of mindset you want to see from young players that want to take on the game. That is impressive with his pace.”

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Ten clubs were represented in the squad of 36 named by Jones to assemble in London on Sunday, Leicester, Bath and Northampton each providing six players ahead of preparations for a summer schedule that begins against the Barbarians on June 19 and continues with the three-Test tour to Australia. This is a small step but a significant step,” said Jones about the England camp.

“It’s a bit of an experimental squad because of the fact that we are preparing for the Barbarians game and then going on the Australian tour. As a result, we have left some senior players out as there are some young guys we want to have a look at. The quality of rugby in Europe over the last few weekends has been extremely high so looking forward to getting the players together and getting a bit of a base ready for Australia.”

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