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Discarded Steffon Armitage Impresses in France

Former London Irish flanker Steffon Armitage continues to be ignored by England but has been so impressive in France that he has been named as the Top 14s Player of the Season
The 26-year-old won the last of his five Test caps when he played against Italy in 2010 and has not been included in Stuart Lancasters squad for this summers tour of South Africa.Armitage, who moved from London Irish to Toulon last summer on a two-year deal, has enjoyed a superb first season in France where he is a team-mate of Jonny Wilkinson.

He beat Castres Chris Masoe and Clermont Auvergnes Gerhard Vosloo to the player of the year accolade which was awarded by the influential rugby newspaper Midi Olympique.

The news probably came as a surprise to many who bet on sports, but not to those who happened to catch a glimpse of Armitage in Top 14 action this season.In the past, the Rugby Football Union has said that they would not select players who played abroad, but Lancaster insists that is no longer the case and he would welcome Armitage back into the England fold.

He said: “We have this situation where, in exceptional circumstances, we have the opportunity to bring players back. Steffon is an example of that. He is clearly playing well and is not out of the equation.”Armitage joined London Irish in 2006 and signed a three-year contract in 2009.

However, the Exiles agreed to let the player move to France last summer even though he still had 12 months left on his deal.Armitage grew up in the south of France and is a fluent French speaker, but those interested getting an inside betting line should not be surprised to see him back in contention for international honours across the channel.

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Last Updated 17 July 2014
Discarded Armitage Impresses in France