Armitage insulted by player stance

Date published: November 4 2015

Toulon back-row Steffon Armitage admitted to feeling insulted when he heard that some England players opposed his inclusion in the squad.

Armitage, who recently scored a hat-trick for his club side in defeat to Grenoble, was left out of England's 31-man Rugby World Cup group.

Now he has spoken out after it was reported that Tom Youngs and Tom Wood had said naming players from the Top 14 would unsettle the camp, with Armitage agreeing with Clermont's Nick Abendanon's view this was a "pathetic" stance.

"Definitely. I know them, played against them, and to hear them say we'd be a distraction if selected was pretty insulting," he told Rugby World.

"At the end of the day all we wanted to do was make the team better and I just think it was wrong for players to say what they did. We could have learnt from each other and created more rivalry for places."

He added: "The coach has his view in not picking me so all I could do was keep playing rugby. I hoped I might get in but it didn't happen and I had to deal with it. Twickenham's meant to be a fortress but it didn't work at all, and I think everyone should be disappointed at the way things happened."

Armitage has won Top 14 and European titles with Toulon and while he knows returning to England would significantly increase his chances of playing for his country again, he revealed it is not as simple as packing a bag and heading home.

"It's a tough situation. What happened with England hit me hard. There was talk I'd be involved and all of a sudden that hope was taken away. I've always played rugby because I love it, but that really hurt," continued the powerful forward.

"I'm getting the enjoyment back now at Toulon but as far as England goes at the moment I'm undecided. Right now my focus is on Toulon. I'm contracted to them until the end of next season and I love it here."