Saturday 16 December 2017

Armitage axed by England Saxons after arrest

Delon Armitage has been suspended from England Saxons Elite Player Squad following his arrest
Delon Armitage has been suspended from England Saxons Elite Player Squad following his arrest

Brendan Gallagher

Delon Armitage has been suspended from the England Saxons Elite Player Squad following his detention by Devon and Cornwall Police early on Sunday morning after a nightclub incident in Torquay.

Along with other players, the London Irish full back was released from the England Saxons camp following their win over the Irish Woflhounds at Sandy Park Exeter on Saturday evening.

Armitage was later arrested in Torquay on suspicion of assault following an altercation in a nightclub, interviewed and then released on police bail.

“We take issues surrounding the behaviour of England players very seriously and as such have decided to suspend Delon from the Saxons EPS pending the result of the police inquiry. We will then consider if further action is appropriate under the EPS Code of Conduct, " said England interim coach Stuart Lancaster.

“High standards of behaviour are required from England players on and off the field, and they also need to understand that they should not put themselves in a potentially vulnerable position or environment.”

Lancaster, who will be in charge of England for the first time this week when they play Scotland in the Six Nations, has already been faced with the disicplinary problem posed by Danny Care's drink driving conviction earlier this month.

On that occasion he chose to drop the talented Harlequins scrum-half for the duration of the championship and should Armitage subsequently be charged and found guility Armitage will be dealt with similarly.

Yet another "incident" involving a high profile England player is absolutely the last thing Lancaster wanted following on from the team's controversial World Cup campaign and its well documented litany of incidents involving players from the captain Mike Tindall downwards.

Meanwhile, London Irish would also appear to be rapidly losing patience over their player's behaviour: “London Irish is extremely disappointed to hear about the incident involving Delon whilst on an England Saxons release period and takes these matters extremely seriously.

"We fully understand the RFU stance on this matter and will convene our own internal investigation to procure a full understanding of the matter in question, the outcome of which will determine any further action. Player conduct is a direct representation of the club and, therefore, inappropriate conduct will be strongly acted upon.”

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