Armitage Bath move in doubt

Published: Thursday 16th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Bath’s hopes of signing England international flanker Steffon Armitage look to have suffered another setback.

Armitage has been named in a 24-man Toulon squad for Sunday’s European Champions Cup clash against the Scarlets.

If he plays, then it will make him cup-tied, and Bath head coach Mike Ford said earlier this week that such a scenario would terminate the west country club’s interest in him.

Ford confirmed on Tuesday that both Bath and Armitage were keen on a move that would enable the reigning European player of the year to challenge for a place in England’s squad for the 2015 World Cup.

Overseas-based players are currently only allowed to be selected by England in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Intensive negotiations to secure a deal had been taking place, with Bath having been hit by a back-row injury crisis that has sidelined players like Francois Louw, Carl Fearns, Matt Garvey and Alafoti Fa’osiliva, while number eight Leroy Houston is suspended.

Under the Aviva Premiership’s injury dispensation rules, clubs are permitted to spend up to £400,000 on cover for a like-for-like player who has been ruled out for at least 12 weeks.

Armitage, meanwhile, was recently included in a provisional France squad, subject to his selection by their Sevens team for Olympic qualification.

If his route back with England is denied, he may revisit his interest in representing Les Bleus at the World Cup.

Published: Thursday 16th October 2014 by The News Editor

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