England head coach Eddie Jones compared new teenage phenomenon Henry Arundell to former Australian centre Matt Giteau as he named his side for a three-day camp this weekend.
Arundell has impressed in recent weeks after scoring two sensational tries for club side London Irish against Wasps and Toulon, having previously starred in the Six Nations Under-20s with a superb effort against Scotland.
And Jones, whose side host the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday June 19 before heading down under to face Australia in a three-Test series, sees something similar in Arundell to the Wallaby legend.
Giteau made his debut under Jones in 2002, before going on to win 103 Australian caps in a glittering international career that spanned 14 years, reaching two World Cup finals in the process, including one with Jones in 2003.
Explaining why he has opted to include Arundell, who has scored 11 tries in 15 matches at club and Under-20s level, Jones said: “We watched him during the (under) twenties. He was impressive in the twenties; he’s got exceptional pace.
“He probably reminds me a lot of Matt Giteau in terms of his desire to attack, not the way he plays, but his desire to attack.
“I was particularly impressed when I went out and watched him play against Wasps, the first ball was kicked to him, he knocked it on cold, so it wasn’t a great start.
“There’s all this hoo-ha about him being a fantastic player and he knocks the ball on cold.
“Next ball he gets, gets a long pass, sees back space, chips, and scores and that’s the sort of mindset you want to see from young players they want to take on the game.
“So that’s impressive with his pace, obviously. “
Arundell is one of 10 uncapped players in the squad, with the Irish teammate Will Joseph also included for the first time, along with Leicester Tigers scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet.
But there are also returns for some more established players, with Mako Vunipola brought back into the side having last played for England in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, while Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi are also recalled.
On the return of Farrell, who has 94 caps for England but missed the 2022 Guinness Six Nations campaign due to injury, Jones praised the resilience of his captain.
He said: “It’s been a tough period for him, it started with this club being relegated and he had a tough time playing.
“Then he’s had a number of injuries, but he’s back playing now.
“He’s been consistently good for his club and is part of the reason Saracens have progressed so far in the European championship and are obviously doing well in the Premiership.”
Tuilagi, who was due to start against Wales in the recent Championship, met with Jones last night to discuss plans for the tour this summer.
“I caught up with Manu last night in Manchester,” said Jones.
“He was looking very fit and enthusiastic, and he really wants to make an imprint on this Australian tour.
“Our job with Sale is to get him physically right and ready to go.”
England last toured Australia in 2016, winning the series 3-0 to bounce emphatically back from the 33-13 World Cup heartbreak at Twickenham less than a year earlier.
England have not lost a Test match against Australia since Jones took the reins in 2016, but he insists it will be different this time around.
He added: “Australia is in a different position now than they were in 2016.
“In 2016, they were an established team coming off the back of a World Cup final where they’d done exceedingly well.
“If you look at the Super Rugby teams at the moment, they’re very young teams, there are a lot of good young players coming through.
“I’m not going to try to pick Dave Rennie’s team for him, but it looks like they’ll have a fairly young team that will play that traditional Dave Rennie type of rugby – a lot of ball movement, a lot of sequence plays.
“The challenge in the game will be different and obviously the game’s changing considerably, it’s becoming more powerful with shorter blocks of intense period of play.
“So it’s much different from when we went there in 2016, we’ve got to make sure that we prepare well for that sort of rugby with fast pitches.
“The first game is at Perth, it’s an AFL ground, it’s very fast. They’re going to have 60,000 screaming Australians there; they’ve already sold the game out. It’s fantastic for rugby.”