Henry Arundell’s First Trial, Darcy Swain Court Hearing


On the one hand, Eddie Jones is trying to temper expectations around England’s bright new star Harry Arundell – on the other, he’s not shy about drawing big comparisons.

In the run-up to Australia’s first Test victory in Perth, Jones compared a practice ground try scored by Arundell as resembling Bryan Habana.

“Henry scored… how long is the pitch, 100 yards? He scored a try from 90 yards in training on Wednesday. There were a few, I won’t use the swear words, ‘he’s fast !’ heard,” Jones said.

“We had a number of coaches from different sports watching us and they heard that comment.

“He scored a try that few other players in the world would have scored. It was like a try that Bryan Habana used to score – one of them.

“He could be a very good player, but he still has a long way to go. We believe that if he continues his development and we are able to give him playing time on this tour, by the time of the World Cup he could be an important player.

Teammate Jonny Hill described Arundell as a “rock star” after that training ground magic.

“I was in the other 22,” Hill said. “That was crazy. Very impressive. He’s a real rock star, isn’t he? I’m sure he’ll have a great future.”

That moment alone was enough for Jones to include Arundell, whose 90-yard try for the London Irish against Toulon this season sent the internet into a meltdown, on his 23rd matchday in Perth. He became the first so-called “apprentice” tourist member to take a test.

With his first touch, Arundell slammed into the Wallabies defense to score a stunning first try.

Henry Arundell scores a brilliant try on his debut. (Photo by Will Russell – RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Afterwards, Jones was asked if he remembered a first try like this – and he looked up another massive star name in David Campese.

“Campo, he did something like that in his first test,” Jones said. “I hate to compare him to Campese, but if he keeps working hard in Test Rugby he will become something of a player.”

As much as we all love Campo, there’s little comparison between his opportunistic first try against the All Blacks (watch the video below) and Arundell’s show of force.

Arundell took a pass from Freddie Steward and his power and footwork left Andrew Kellaway, Noah Lolesio and eventually James O’Connor bamboozled.

On the English bench, his teammates were speechless.

“Tom Curry said, ‘He’s going to score that’. I think that was a bit of a sarcastic comment and he did,” Ellis Genge revealed.

The try spared a predictable clamor for Arundell’s fresh blood to be injected early on in Brisbane next week, although fans and media are divided over his place in the XV.

“He (Arundell) had no right [to score]. It’s not like he skinned people, he went through two people then skinned someone,” former England player Dyla Hartley told Sky Sports.

“I think he’s proven on the big stage that he’s capable and I guess in a long tour like those three games there are opportunities.

“Someone might get injured or Eddie might want to try him on the wing or play him in the middle, but who knows.

World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward says Jones must start Arundell on the wing in Brisbane. Arundell has to start at 100%. It has speed in abundance and its first test run was superb. He starts on the wing in my team for the second game.

Noah’s Awesome Bow

The last time Noah Lolesio had an impact in a game before Saturday night’s late call was his missed drop goal attempt as the Brumbies pulled out of Super Rugby competition against the Blues.

The youngster looked very impressive 10 days ago when he spoke about the disappointment to the media, opening up about the impact it had.

“I definitely learned from that,” Lolesio said.

“If I’m being completely honest, it took me three to four days to overcome [it]. I know that was such a big part of the game and I really felt like I let my teammates down, which is not what you want to do. I move on. The biggest thing I learned in rugby is that you have to have a short term memory when things like this happen.

Noah Lolesio

The Wallabies’ Noah Lolesio prepares to pass in the first game. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

It must not have been easy getting thrown into the starting squad after Quade Cooper suffered a calf injury in the warm-up, but he took it in his stride.

“I feel like it took me a while to find my rhythm there, but I’m just happy we got the result to be honest,” Lolesio said after the game.

Tim Horan, on Stan Sport, noted Lolesio’s growing maturity.

“This year Dan McKellar and the Brumbies coaching staff have handled it really well,” Horan said.

“He took on more of a leadership role and attacked the winning line more this year with the Brumbies. That’s why when Dan McKellar gives him the opportunity when you come to a Test match, you know how to play that front foot.

The selection of Lolesio on the bench against a James O’Connor still returning to peak fitness after injury was prescient.

“There was a reason he was on the bench,” Dave Rennie said.

“He performed very well for the Brumbies. He’s been training very well over the past few weeks and there was a lot of confidence.

“He found out he was maybe playing in the last two minutes of our warm-up and didn’t blink. He was ready.

“Whitey came, obviously they are friends of the club, and he was excited for him. We dragged James out of the booth and stripped him down and ready to go. Noah was excellent and his goal kicks under pressure – we’ve seen that many times – were truly impressive.

Lolesio landed four out of four kicks, including two crucial conversions on the right.

Speaking on The Roar’s instant reaction podcast, Brett McKay said of Lolesio’s conversion for Jordan Petaia’s try on the right “I’ve seen him do that kick under pressure so many times. He nails that kick so often – he did it for the Brumbies just a month ago, winning an NRC semi-final, the Canberra Vikings with a kick almost to the same spot. I saw him do it so many times and as soon as he lined up that kick I knew he was going to do it.

Podcast co-host Harry Jones said the late inclusion could have shaken a lot of 10-year-olds. “It was a big moment in his career,” Jones said.

“I know how it was scripted”

Darcy Swain will face a court hearing on Tuesday after being deported for the incident with Jonny Hill.

Jones laughed off suggestions there had been a tactical decision to win over the Aussie, although it seemed to everyone that was the case as Hill hit Swain with both hands to the face long before the hair pulling that preceded the headbutt.

“Not to my knowledge. It was just one of those things where two bulls go head-to-head and they get a little carried away,” Jones said.

Horan said Swain was “swept up in the niggle It was Darcy Swain’s inexperience.” He’ll look at this and say ‘I made a big mistake.’

“He may spend three or four weeks on the sidelines. He’ll understand that you can’t get sucked into that sort of thing.

Former Wallaby lock Justin Harrison had no doubts about what had happened.

“I was tasked by Eddie to lure my opposition number into exactly what Darcy Swain was drawn into. I know exactly how it was scripted.

Harrison said the judiciary should review Hill’s past actions.

“It’s attacking another player’s head with both hands,” Harrison said. “I’d be really surprised if the Independent Citing Commission didn’t look at that game and wanted to take a closer look at that one. Jonny Hill will want to keep his suit fresh for maybe a court hearing.

“It’s a made up question”

Former England star Will Greenwood says Jones’ decision to persist with Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell has left the team caught between two styles.

“England are blessed with two excellent fly-halfs. Individually, Marcus Smith does things no one else can. And whatever your club allegiance, you have to recognize that Owen Farrell has and can be magnificent for England. If you say anything different you are not monitoring the competitiveness and the advantage Farrell brings to the game,” Greenwood wrote in the Telegraph.

“Still, as a former center protecting specialists at 12 and 13, I’ve always felt that with Smith and Farrell it’s a case of ‘or’, not ‘and’. You have to select one of those two, not both. It’s no light on their abilities, but right now, they’re square pegs in round holes. They’re such great characters, such great halfbacks. -flies, who play and see the game in very different ways.

Jones defended the 10-12 combination which had its first full game together in the first Test.

He bristled with a line of questions on Saturday when asked what gave him confidence that Smith and Farrell could work

“I’ve seen enough to show that it will,” Jones said.

Pushed if it was in training and games, an exasperated Jones replied: “They only played one game together mate and that’s today’s game. They had a half game against Australia [in November]. They will go very well together, but it takes time.

He was asked if it also takes courage on his part “if there are other established partnerships” that he could use.

“As is? Please don’t ask me made up questions, mate. It’s a made up question. You’re trying to be antagonistic. What the hell are you talking about?

“We’ve had a game and a half and we’re still in our infancy and it will take time.”

Greenwood said: “You have to back one, knowing the other is a very decent back-up…

“You just feel like England are currently caught between two styles and don’t know which direction to go. There is hesitation about how they are going to beat the teams. If you play Danny Care and Smith together you have to let them play as they do for their club. It’s a classic case of confusion.

Roar expert Harry Jones, speaking on the Instant Reaction podcast, said it was time Farrell was out of the picture.

“Owen Farrell continues to blunt the tip of England’s attacking spear,” said Harry Jones. “He has to be a substitute or out of the squad to allow Marcus Smith to run him with Danny Care.

“Every time he seemed to build, he would blunt it and he would miss his kicks.”




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