Owen Farrell backs ‘brilliant’ Henry Arundell to make Six Nations impact for England
London-Irish aviator Arundell has been part of England’s 29-man squad to prepare for Sunday’s Six Nations clash with Italy at Twickenham, amid praise from skipper Farrell.
The 20-year-old was brought back into the England squad after just 30 minutes of action for the Exiles, following a foot injury suffered in October.
Arundell’s three caps all came off the bench during last summer’s tour of Australia, and the light-footed winger is in line to face the Azzurri this weekend.
England captain Farrell drew a cautious parallel to the great Robinson, who played with Wigan before winning the 2003 World Cup in Sir Clive Woodward’s all-conquering Test team.
“It has it all when it comes to a racing game; people have speed, strength, can mount tackles, feet,” Farrell said.
“Usually people have one, maybe two, but he has everything.
“When you look at him I saw him play for London Irish and I saw that amazing try he scored against Toulon, and you think ‘brilliant’, but then he came to Australia and he was doing that in training, every other day.
“When he had the ball in his own 22 and he was against you, you thought ‘oh, anything can happen here’.
“And there aren’t too many people who do that, there aren’t too many people who make everyone get on the edge of their seat when they get the ball, and he would be one of ‘between them.
“Every time Jason Robinson had the ball everyone said ‘something is going to happen here’.
“He’s got a bit of that about him, Henry.”
Ben Youngs was dropped from the English ranks to face Italy, leaving the 33-year-old to miss a Six Nations game when fit and available for the first time in nine years.
Northampton’s Alex Mitchell is now in line to earn only his second Test cap this weekend, with Jack Van Poortvliet the other scrum-half retained.
Defense coach Kevin Sinfield has insisted Youngs, 122 caps, still plays a central role in England’s long-term plans.
England opened their Six Nations account with a frustrating 29-23 home loss to Scotland, adding further pressure to victory for Sunday’s clash against Italy.
Asked if people might consider the autumn World Cup to be beyond Young’s reach, Sinfield replied: “I don’t think those people matter. The only person that matters is Ben, understanding where he stands.
“He is definitely part of our team. It’s just for this weekend. If Steve (Borthwick) was sitting here now he wouldn’t be focusing on the World Cup.
“What is important and clear to us is how important Sunday is, to get a performance and to improve”