England's Armitage cops another ban

by RUGBY.com.au staff

London Irish and England fullback Delon Armitage received his second suspension of the season on Tuesday - just over a month after coming back from an eight-week suspension.

The 27-year-old, who missed the whole of this year's Six Nations for pushing an anti-doping officer, was banned for three weeks for striking Northampton outside-half Stephen Myler in the Premiership clash on April 23.

His ban, imposed after he pleaded guilty at a disciplinary hearing in London on Tuesday afternoon, takes effect from May 4 until May 10 and then from May 24 to June 6.

The ban has been split as his club London Irish cannot qualify for the end of season playoffs.

It means Armitage will miss sixth-placed Irish's final league game away to leaders Leicester this Saturday and also England's match against the Barbarians at Twickenham on May 29, damaging his hopes of selection for the World Cup squad in New Zealand later.

His ban expires after the opening game of the second-string England Saxons' Churchill Cup campaign, against the United States in Northampton on June 4.

The Saxons face Tonga in Gloucester on June 12 and then either Canada, Russia or Italy A the following weekend.

Ben Foden has established himself as England's first-choice full-back in Armitage's absence but the Exiles back can play at 15, wing or centre - making him a possibly valuable squad player.

Armitage has been capped 19 times by England since making his debut in 2008.