Bath’s Armitage talks stall

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Published: Tuesday 14th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Bath’s pursuit of Steffon Armitage is in danger of collapse after head coach Mike Ford revealed negotiations have stalled.

The Recreation Ground club were hoping to sign Armitage from European champions Toulon until the end of the season to cover for a back row injury crisis.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen unless high level people come to an agreement, so we’ll pursue the other interests now.” Ford said.

Bath were hoping to recruit European player of the year Armitage under the Aviva Premiership’s injury dispensation rule that permits up to £400,000 to be spent on a player signed as cover.

Ford confirmed that both Bath and Armitage were keen on a move that would enable the 29-year-old openside flanker to challenge for a place in England’s squad for the 2015 World Cup.

However, the financial terms of the deal have proved a stumbling block with Armitage having two years left on his contract at Toulon.

Ford revealed that if he becomes cup tied by playing for Toulon in the opening round of European Rugby Champions Cup this weekend, Bath’s interest would be terminated.

“The move would have been fantastic for us and fantastic for England. It did get pretty close to him coming, but it’s not happened,” Ford said.

“It’s bit of a shame really for Steffon, Bath and England.

“Steffon was very keen on playing for his country at the World Cup and keen on playing for Bath. He thinks we’re playing some good rugby.

“He thinks his style would have fit in well. Ultimately he was happy to leave the European champions to play for England at the World Cup.

“He knew he wouldn’t walk into the England squad and would have to play very good rugby to do that.

“If anything is going to happen he can’t play for Toulon in the European Cup this weekend.

“If he does, I wouldn’t pursue him. But at the moment it’s not going to happen.”

Published: Tuesday 14th October 2014 by The News Editor

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