England wonderkid Henry Arundell ‘interested’ in rugby league switch – report

Colin Newboult
Henry Arundell in England training during the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Henry Arundell in England training during the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

England youngster Henry Arundell is attracting the attention of NRL clubs, according to reports in the Australian media.

The 21-year-old is one of the brightest talents in the 15-man game and scored five tries at the recent Rugby World Cup.

Arundell is currently playing for French side Racing 92 after London Irish entered administration at the end of last season, but he is only on a one-year deal.

His options

The back three player has obviously been linked with a move back to England at the end of his Racing contract, which would keep him eligible for the national team, but the Premiership is not in the rudest financial health.

Other leagues now have greater fiscal lure and, according to News Corp, rugby league clubs in the NRL are circling.

It is also understood that Arundell is very much open to the idea of switching sports at the end of the current campaign and changing to the 13-man code.

Those close to the flyer have already reached out to express an interest, but clubs are still waiting to formally make an approach.

Immediate impression

He burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old in early 2022, starring for the Red Rose U20 side before playing a key part for London Irish in the Premiership.

That earned him a call-up to the England squad for their series against the Wallabies, which they won 2-1.

Australians saw first-hand what the speedster could do as, with his first touch, Arundell broke away from two tackles and rounded the final defender to score a brilliant individual try.

The 21-year-old has been a regular in England squads since then, but injury has limited his impact.

In his first game for Racing 92, he played on the wing and scored a hat-trick, with his first and third tries showing his superb speed, balance and footwork.

If Arundell does indeed make the switch to the 13-man code, he may be showing those qualities in the NRL from mid-2024 onwards.

Targeting of union players

Australian rugby league sides have taken a greater interest in union players following the purported change in the salary cap regulations.

NRL bosses are considering allowing exemptions if clubs want to bring over internationals from the 15-a-side sport.

“If a Wallaby or an All Black wanted to come over, we’d look at cap exemptions for sure,” Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys told the Sydney Morning Herald in April.

Wallabies wing Mark Nawaqanitawase is high on the list and has reportedly already met with Sydney Roosters chairman Nick Politis and head coach Trent Robinson.

Teenage sensation Max Jorgensen is another player that is rumoured to be attracting interest from the NRL.

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