Henry Arundell’s brilliance gives England a glimmer of hope in defeat

Henry Arundell's brilliance: Arundell scores a try for England Rugby on July 02, 2022
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Henry Arundell’s brilliance in the final ten minutes offered a glimmer of hope that England is still in this series. There is no disguising the fact that this was another disappointing performance by the England rugby team. England once again could not deal with their opponents going down to 14 men. Adding salt to the wounds for Eddie Jones was his team’s poor discipline and an attack that again failed to fire. These are all too familiar problems that are not getting any better. A small consolation was the performance of Henry Arundell, who announced himself in quite spectacular fashion. The impact of Arundell and the replacements were the two positives for England. Charlie Inglefield dissects another England defeat and what options are available for the second test.

Arundell’s impact

We knew about Henry Arundell’s potential but few could have predicted his brilliance coming on in the last ten minutes. His try was a throwback to Jason Robinson at his best – blistering pace, deceptive power, and threading through the tightest of gaps. Arundell has put himself in the shop window for the second test. Eddie Jones has to decide whether Arundell’s inexperience is worth the risk.

The English attitude has often been the concentration on what players can’t do rather than what players like Arundell can do. It was not just his exceptional try but also the way he burst past defenders with ease. Marcus Smith came alive when Arundell came on, and England’s attack suddenly looked dangerous. Henry Arundell’s brilliance was a breath of fresh air on another depressing evening for England rugby.

England has forgotten how to win

If ever the England rugby team had a chance to get their faltering attack and confidence back it was this test match. Wallaby talisman, Quade Cooper was ruled out five minutes before kick-off, and then full-back Tom Banks went off with a horrible arm injury. Australia then had to play with 14 men after 34 minutes when Darcy Swain was sent off. As was the case with the Barbarians England found no way through.

It is a serious worry for England rugby in that they looked impotent in attack, careless with their discipline and devoid of ideas. They look like a team who has forgotten how to win. 14-9 up with 20 minutes to go, the Wallabies still looked full of energy and running. There was an air of inevitably that Australia would find a way to score. They had limited opportunities in England’s territory but came away with points. In a dreadful ten-minute period, England was butchered in the scrum and was destroyed at the breakdown.

If England has designs of making a run in the 2023 Rugby World Cup these are games they have to win. Twice over the last four weeks, we have seen England get thumped by a 14-man Barbarians outfit and now the Wallabies. As the likes of former Welsh coach Warren Gatland have said in the press recently, does this England rugby team know what style they are wanting to play? In Perth, we were no clearer on England’s game-plan.

Involve Arundell and consider England’s replacements

Henry Arundell’s brilliance and the impact of England’s bench were two definite positives in the first test. The second test now becomes one of the biggest games in Eddie Jones’s tenure as England coach. He should consider Henry Arundell, Lewis Ludlam and Ollie Chessum in his selection plans.

We have talked about Arundell’s impact but Lewis Ludlam was England’s best player in the second half. Ludlam was thunderous in everything he did, including a memorable hit on Marika Korobeite. Lewis Ludlam brought some physicality to England’s forward effort and he must surely be in consideration to start in Brisbane.

Another terrific talent is Ollie Chessum who has improved immeasurably for the Leicester Tigers this season. The Australian conditions should suit his running game. I would be tempted to move Courtney Lawes back to the second row to partner Maro Itoje and give Chessum the blindside jumper. The back row make-up would be Billy Vunipola at number eight with Chessum at six and Lewis Ludlam at openside. This is very tough on Tom Curry but this trio offers physicality and in Chessum’s case an excellent running option.

Joe Cokanasiga was underused and could not get into the game. Some of that responsibility rests with the Owen Farrell/Marcus Smith combination – the latter has to be better in Brisbane. With Jonny May back in contention, next week together with the exciting Tommy Freeman England are not short of options in the back three.

Pressure builds on Jones and England rugby

It is undoubtedly going to be a stressful week for England rugby and Eddie Jones. The second test in Brisbane on July 9  at Suncorp Stadium becomes one of Eddie Jones’ biggest games as the England rugby coach. Eddie Jones needs to get his selection spot on and Henry Arundell is at the front of that list. England and Jones are running out of time and options. The game can be watched in England on Sky Sports Action, 9Now in Australia and FloRugby in the U.S.


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