Henry Arundell handed Six Nations ultimatum as England star told he must agree Gallagher Premiership return

Henry Arundell signed for Racing 92 earlier this year (Getty Images)
Henry Arundell signed for Racing 92 earlier this year (Getty Images)

Henry Arundell must agree a return to the Gallagher Premiership for next season if he wants to feature in the Six Nations for England.

The former London Irish star will start at full-back for new club Racing 92 against Harlequins in Sunday’s glamour Champions Cup clash in Paris.

Bath are the clear favourites to sign Arundell for next term should the 21-year-old opt to make his stay in France’s Top 14 just a one-season affair.

Chief executive Bill Sweeney said at the World Cup in October that the RFU would allow Arundell to be eligible for selection for the 2024 Six Nations, despite his move to France.

Now the RFU are understood have taken a step back from that position, however, with Arundell’s Six Nations availability conditional on his return to England for the 2024/25 season.

England continue to stick to their long-held policy of not selecting overseas-based players, to help keep the top Red Rose talent on home soil.

Arundell played at the World Cup due to the RFU’s exceptional circumstances clause, that was invoked after London Irish went bust. He was forced to find a new club at the shortest of notice, and was therefore allowed to move abroad and still feature at the global tournament in France.

Arundell effectively faces a new ultimatum on his England career: extend his deal with Racing and press pause on his Test ambitions, or sign for Bath and keep his international aims alive.

England want to award 25 new hybrid contracts for next season, as part of the renewed Professional Game Partnership (PGP) with the Premiership clubs.  The RFU will top up players’ existing club deals with six-figure sums, that will replace the fees for specific Test appearances.

The new system will afford England head coach Steve Borthwick more control over the Red Rose players than ever before.

Arundell could easily opt to stay in France and continue his development under former England boss Stuart Lancaster, who earlier this week vowed to act in Arundell’s best interests, whatever decision the talented back-three star makes.