In a pivotal move that challenges England’s innovative ‘hybrid contract’ system, Henry Arundell has opted to hone his skills at Racing 92 in France rather than returning home.
The 21-year-old player has reportedly committed to Racing, sealing a noteworthy two-year contract extension that binds him to France until 2026, as disclosed by The Times.
Get your tickets for the 2024 Six Nations at viagogo, the world’s leading ticket marketplace. Ticket start from £27.
This decision has significant ramifications for Arundell’s international prospects, as he will no longer be eligible for the 2024 Six Nations, contrary to previous assurances.
The talented player turned down a joint offer from the RFU and Bath, choosing instead to renew his contract with Racing, albeit at a reduced salary compared to the combined English proposition.
The Times has learned that Bath and the RFU extended an offer aiming to make Arundell the inaugural England player under the ‘hybrid contract’ scheme, wherein both club and country contribute to the player’s salary. However, the young athlete opted to reject this groundbreaking proposal.
Arundell’s choice to stay in France deals a substantial blow to the RFU, which has been championing these new contracts as a pivotal element of the ongoing negotiations between the union and the clubs, known as the Professional Game Partnership.
Arundell was the Player of Match against Scotland on his U20 debut in February 2022, scoring a length-of-the-field try in the 41-24 victory in Edinburgh.
His first Premiership match in the London Irish starting team against Bristol Bears the following week was equally memorable, ultimately leading to a first call up for a senior England training squad after only six Premiership appearances.
Included in England’s summer tour of Australia, Henry made his debut off the bench in the first international Test, scoring a remarkable solo try with his first touch of the ball.
He went on to feature in the following Guinness Six Nations campaign, before being named in Steve Borthwick’s squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.