Date of birth: 8 April 1996. Country: Ireland


When did you start playing?
When I was six, at Cranbrook rugby club in Kent. I lived near Tunbridge Wells.

Which other rugby clubs have you played for?
Tunbridge Wells, then Harlequins from when I was 13 to 17. As soon as I left school I moved
to Belfast to join Ulster.

What’s your Irish connection?
My mum, Jackie, and her parents come from Wexford. They wanted me to go down the Irish route so I played Ireland Clubs U18, then Ireland U20 last season (2014-15). It was awesome.

Have you played different positions?
I started as centre, played scrum-half for a year when I was 16, then moved back to centre.

What interests do you have outside rugby?
I’m trying to play golf but I’m not very good. It’s a work in progress!

Who’s had a big influence on you?
My coach at Cranleigh School, Andy Houston. The senior players at Ulster, like Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys, Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe have been so helpful.

Describe your playing style…
I like using my speed and footwork so I can beat the first defender and get us on the front foot. I look for mismatches.

How has it been playing in the Guinness Pro12 last year and this?
It was strange to start with, playing against and with players I’ve seen on TV. I was aiming to play during the World Cup but didn’t think I’d get as much game time as I did.

What are your aims now?
Neil Doak (Ulster head coach) has given me some work-ons and I want to perform well in all my games and really get my foot in the door at Ulster, and play more for Ireland U20 too.

RW Verdict: Arnold took the brave step of moving far away from home when he’d just turned 18 and it paid off as he made an impact in the Ulster team. In the summer of 2016 he is moving to Munster, so watch out for him in red next season.

First published in the January 2016 edition of Rugby World magazine.