England window closes for Armitage

Date published: May 14 2015

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The chances of seeing Steffon Armitage or Nick Abendanon play for England at the Rugby World Cup are but over, according to the latest reports.

A meeting between Premiership Rugby, the RFU and the Rugby Players Association (RPA) last week concluded that the "exceptional circumstances" rule, which has been frequently discussed in recent years, applies only to a major run of injuries.

That decision therefore rules out any players based overseas featuring for England in this year's tournament outright, unless of course a significant amount of injuries occur.

RPA boss Damien Hopley backed up England head coach Stuart Lancaster regarding the issue on Wednesday.

“The professional game board position supports the RFU position,” said Hopley told the Telegraph.

“Stuart has come under a lot of flack from people claiming that it is his position, but it is not, he is just endorsing upholding RFU policy and that has been endorsed by the professional game board, by the Premiership, the RFU, the RPA and the Championship.

“We want the best players playing in England. It is fantastic to see Nick Abendanon and Steffon Armitage being game-busters in Europe but the policy is the policy.

"As I understand it, exceptional circumstances relates to the squad suffering a significant injury crisis and you have to bring someone in.”

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