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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Nick Purewal

Henry Arundell set to pause England career by extending France stay with Racing 92

Henry Arundell is likely to deal England a blow by opting to extend his stay in France and put his international career on hold.

The former London Irish flyer is now expected to add two more years to his existing 12 months at Racing 92 – which will put him off limits for selection for the Six Nations.

England bosses had hoped to be able to convince Arundell to come back to the Premiership for next season, with Bath heading the queue to recruit the coveted 21-year-old.

The RFU had initially pledged to make Arundell available for next year’s Six Nations, whatever his decision about his long-term club future.

But the situation has shifted with the Premiership clubs pushing for stronger enforcement of the RFU rule of only selecting overseas-based players for England in exceptional circumstances.

Arundell was able to feature at the World Cup because his move to Paris giants Racing came off the back of London Irish falling into administration.

But now if the former Harrow School pupil does indeed decide to stay put in France for two more years, his England career will be on immediate hold.

Arundell has been offered one of England’s new hybrid contracts for next season, the two-tier system seeing the RFU top up club deals with direct salary payments for the first time.

England are expecting better news on Maro Itoje however, with the RFU anticipating the Saracens lock opting to accept a hybrid deal and stay on home soil.

Itoje struck back to his very best form in driving England to the World Cup semi-finals, then a victory in the third-place play-off.

The 29-year-old has again drawn strong interest from overseas, but England chiefs now hope he will stay put for the long-term.

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