Rugby World Cup: Borthwick reviews England's win over Samoa
England’s Rugby World Cup campaign has been rocked by reports of a fight between two players in their squad, Henry Arundell and captain Owen Farrell, during a training session. Steve Borthwick’s side are preparing to face Fiji in the quarter-finals of the tournament in France on Sunday, but reports of a rift between two of their players has caused an unwanted distraction just five days before their clash in Marseille.
Farrell is England’s first-choice fly-half and is one of their most experienced players. The 32-year-old, who returned from suspension to play his first 2023 World Cup game against Chile, has racked up over 1,100 points in his 109 caps for his country, but this alleged incident will bring a cloud over his participation.
Arundell, 20, is a fullback who has only featured once in the World Cup when he scored five tries in the resounding 71-0 victory over Chile in Pool D. He hasn’t been selected by Borthwick since, however, and former international Andy Goode claims there is a ‘reason’ behind his absence from the side.
In an appearance on The Rugby Pod, Goode sensationally claimed that a ‘scrap’ allegedly occurred during training between Farrell and Arundell. And he suggested that with Farrell’s importance to the squad, the altercation is the main factor for Arundell’s recent snub from the squad.
“You talk about pace, we haven’t scored many tries, and you’ve got a kid in the stands. Henry Arundell who scored five tries in one game,” he said. “He has got game-breaking ability, x-factor, and he can’t get a look in, but there is a reason behind it.
“I’ve heard there’s a reason behind it… Here’s one for you, lads,” Goode began, before co-host Jim Hamilton shouted: “Oh god!”. He continued: “I have heard through the grapevine and through my sources that Henry Arundell and Owen Farrell had a bit of a set two and a scrap at training.
“And because you don’t mess with Faz apparently in this England squad. That’s why Henry Arundell isn’t anywhere near the match day 23 after scoring five tries.” Goode said.
England Rugby declined to comment when approached by Express Sport.
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The alleged situation will be unwanted news for Borthwick and also the Rugby Football Union (RFU) ahead of Sunday’s crunch quarter-final.
The RFU released a statement on Tuesdaystatement insisting that Arundell would be available to play in the Six Nations in 2024. The fullback signed for French outfit Racing 92 after London Irish were placed into administration, which raised a question mark over his eligibility for the Six Nations. The current policy states that players from overseas clubs can only be picked in ‘exceptional circumstances’ and his situation is thought to b in the bracket.
“Any players who went abroad as an outcome of their clubs going out of business and who needed to find employment overseas as a result will be available for the Six Nations in 2024,” RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said.
“We want the best English players playing in England. In Henry’s case, he will be available for the 2024 Six Nations and then we will work very hard with him and with the Premiership, so that hopefully he can get a contract to come back to England.”
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