The England starlet with ‘massive quads’ who rugby legends think could excel at the World Cup

Colin Newboult

Henry Arundell scoring a try for England in the 2023 Six Nations.

South Africa’s record try-scorer Bryan Habana and former England wing Chris Ashton have been among those to heap praise on speedster Henry Arundell.

The 20-year-old burst onto the scene as a teenager in 2022 with London Irish and has since forced his way into the Red Rose 23.

Arundell is expected to be named in Steve Borthwick’s Rugby World Cup squad, which is due to be announced on Monday, August 7.

He has earned seven caps already and looks set to play a key part for the national team at the global tournament in France.

Arundell’s qualities

The flyer is renowned for his speed but he is also deceptively strong, which is helped by the size of his quadriceps according to Habana.

“One of his thighs is the size of my two thighs put together,” he told World Rugby.

“He’s leading the front-running pack of youngsters that are going to be phenomenal for the next decade.”

Ex-England poacher Ashton is also a fan and believes that Arundell can become a mainstay of the Red Rose XV.

“He’s a great young talent that we all hope will push on and play for England for many years,” he said.

“He’s still not broke that boundary (of being a regular starter) yet. He’s scored some freakishly good tries for someone so young and so naive to the game, given that he hasn’t played that much.

“My best memory of him was him coming off the bench against Australia and out of nowhere just bursting through two or three tackles.

“I think the Australia team underestimated him as well. That’s part of being new where people don’t really know much about you, and he just ran straight through Aussie players and scored. Everyone was taken aback by it.”

Ashton’s concern, however, especially when looking at the World Cup, is whether Arundell will get the game time, with several quality players competing for those back three spots.

“I hope he breaks into the England team. If he does enough in camp, he could be a World Cup bolter,” he added.

“Max Malins is also new but he’s coming through, so there’s a lot of competition from people who are going to be starting.”

An Aussies thoughts

Arundell also has his admirers south of the equator with former Wallaby wing Drew Mitchell impressed by what he’s seen so far.

The ex-Toulon player watched on as the English youngster announced himself with a stunning try against Mitchell’s former club in the Challenge Cup before he scored with his first touch in international rugby against Australia.

“He burst onto the scene with a coast-to-coast try against Toulon at Stade Mayol. He put his name on the map there, he’s got himself seven international caps and he will be building on that throughout this World Cup campaign,” he said.

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