Will Steffon Armitage Walk Away From England for France?


Steffon ArmitageSteffon Armitage the Toulon back row is reportedly ready to walk away from England and make himself available to play on France’s side.

Armitage is currently the Player of the Year for the Heineken Cup and a two-time winner of the Heineken Cup with Toulon the current champions of the Top 14.

Despite playing for England for five Tests, starting in 2009 when he debuted internationally, he cannot play for the Three Lions due to the policy in the country of forbidding the selection of overseas’ based players, except when their exist exceptional circumstances.

Those circumstances are deemed exceptional essentially when a crisis exists amongst loose forwards in England, which means Armitage does not have much chance of playing at the next World Cup.

The veteran, who is 28, last played in 2010 for England and an existing loophole with regard to qualification regulations for the 2016 Olympic Sevens could create a way for him to play for the national team of France.

According to the regulation, Test players, that have not represented their nation in international play for a period of 18 months and possess the passport from another nation, can then play for that nation.

That means they can play in the Seven World Series for 2014-15 and after that, can represent that same nation in the 15-man code.

A report in one of England’s newspapers said Armitage does not possess a passport from France yet, but is now in the process of obtaining one.

If Armitage does receive his passport from France, he will meet with the Rugby Federation of France or the International Rugby Board so he can speak about playing for the French club.

Stuart Lancaster the England coach last year visited France to meet with the player and Delon his brother to speak about their future internationally.

The back row Toulon partner for Armitage, veteran flanker from South Africa, Juan Smith was called up recently by Springboks for the Rugby Championship.

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