Henry Arundell’s commitment to Racing 92 until 2026 renders him unsuitable to represent England.

Henry Arundell’s contract extension with Racing 92 has confirmed his ineligibility for the England team until June 2026.

Arundell, who has had a successful start at Racing, has signed with Stuart Lancaster’s club for an additional two seasons, thereby ruling himself out of Steve Borthwick’s plans. This decision by the 21-year-old comes as a major setback for the Rugby Football Union, as they had hoped to showcase Arundell as the face of the upcoming “hybrid” contracts.

Despite the RFU offering to augment his salary and giving increased control to Borthwick over 25 players, Arundell has chosen to continue his development under the guidance of Lancaster instead of joining Bath.

After London Irish’s dissolution last summer, Arundell joined Racing following the World Cup. Initially, he believed he would be available for the upcoming Six Nations by utilizing the RFU’s exceptional circumstances loophole. However, Borthwick, wanting a decision on his long-term future before the championship, will now be unable to select one of English rugby’s most promising talents. Borthwick even traveled to Paris last month to personally speak with Arundell, who had scored five tries in a match against Chile at the World Cup, but was unsuccessful in convincing him to return to England.

“We are delighted to see Henry extend his commitment to Racing 92,” said Laurent Travers, the club’s president. “Although he only joined a few weeks ago, he has already shown the qualities of a great competitor and great maturity. He aligns perfectly with the club’s short- and medium-term goals, and we are confident that he will be one of the driving forces in achieving them.”

The RFU’s hybrid contracts are intended to enhance Borthwick’s year-round management of his players, but they have also become a mechanism to retain England stars in the Premiership amidst an increasing number seeking moves abroad.

In addition to Arundell, other members of England’s World Cup squad such as Joe Marchant, David Ribbans, Jack Willis, Jack Nowell, Sam and Joe Simmonds, and Jack Singleton have joined the Top 14 this season. Lewis Ludlam is expected to join Toulon next season, while Maro Itoje and Kyle Sinckler are reportedly considering their options.

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