Owen Farrell backed his England team-mate Henry Arundell to impress on his first start for his country, amid the feverish atmosphere of Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on Saturday, with hosts Ireland going for the Six Nations, and Farrell’s side desperate to restore pride after last weekend’s hammering by France.

The 20-year-old Arundell burst onto the scene with spectacular tries for England’s under-20s and his club London Irish last season, finishing as the Premiership’s Young Player of the Year, and put another exhilarating score past Australia last July in the first of his six Test appearances to date, all from the bench.

Injury intervened in the autumn but now the hottest prospect in the English game must help hold out an Irish team on a run of nine wins in all matches, and odds on to complete their fourth Slam to go with 1948 in Belfast, 2009 in Cardiff and 2018 at Twickenham.

“People who do it at club rugby week in, week out, don’t always find it as easy to do when they come into the Test team and in training,” Farrell, the England captain restored in place of Marcus Smith, said of Arundell.

“It seems like every time he touches the ball people expect him to do something good, and he doesn’t normally disappoint. So we’re looking forward to trying to get him into the game.”

The former England wing David Trick built an after-dinner speaking career around his experience of catching – or rather, failing to catch – a high ball at the old Lansdowne Road on debut in 1983. Trick only played once more for his country.

But England flanker Lewis Ludlam was also confident in Arundell’s capability. “He is electric. I remember one of the first training sessions, pre-Australia. He was running and I thought ‘oh I’ve got him’, and then he properly just took off. I’ve never seen anyone take off like that in the flesh. So he’s a freak in terms of his speed, but he’s got a great head on his shoulders as well.”

At the other end of the scale, the Leicester prop Dan Cole is poised for his 100th England cap from the bench, mingled with some familial fun surrounding Farrell and his father, Andy, the Ireland head coach, who welcomed his grandsons – Owen’s sons – Tommy and Freddie to training at the Aviva Stadium on Friday.

The boys are aged four and two, so it is early days to declare any national allegiance. “They’re a bit young yet; they’re just doing as their granddad’s told them to,” said Owen, who did not know about the training invitation, as England had their stadium run three hours after Ireland’s.

“They’re staying at their granddad’s house, so I guess it’s his rules this weekend, so far.”

But he revealed the boys both possess Ireland and England jerseys, so the question was which they would be wearing for the match.

“They came over yesterday on the ferry and they are staying at their granddad’s house,” Owen said. “He [Andy] is not there – they are staying with my mum. I assume and I do still assume that they will be wearing England jerseys but I see they are trying to sway him.”

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