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Post by Alex_Germany Wed May 18, 2016 9:09 am

There is talk of Steffon Armitage coming to play for Wasps and then England.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/may/17/eddie-jones-steffon-armitage-england-toulon-wasps

If this had happened two years ago, it would have been pretty exciting news, and even under Lancaster, he could have been the England 7. I'm not sure now whether it's so newsworthy. True, right now, England don't have a genuine 7, but:

- There are up and coming England qualified 7s - Underhill for example.
- Jones has just won a 6N title playing two 6.5s (Haskell's wording!). Perhaps less need for an out and out 7.
- Armitage hasn't been a dominant force this season. Maybe it's the rest of the Toulon team, maybe others are getting better, maybe he's getting older. He is 30 now (Robshaw is 29 and Haskell is 31), so might struggle to reach the next RWC.

Would bringing him into the team be disruptive? And of course, Jones might think "we need a bit of disruption".

Is he still what England need?

The other topic of the article is Cipriani. Jones said:
He has got to understand that at the age of 28 or 29 he has got to evolve into a different sort of player. Whether he can make himself into a worthwhile international player is his challenge.
I thought at Sale he has evolved into a more steady game controller, rather than a strike runner from 10.

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Post by LondonTiger Wed May 18, 2016 10:19 am

Cipriani has worked on his game management, and is better at controlling matches. However he seems unwilling to work on his clear fults in his kicking action. This means it is always at risk of falling apart unless he is completely in touch.

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Post by lostinwales Wed May 18, 2016 10:21 am

Have to think its going to be tough for Armitage to get a look in but if he can produce performances that demand inclusion it could still happen.

I do feel a bit confused about Cipriani. Things may all go downhill at Wasps but I feel he has changed his game and is a lot more rounded (and hopefully mature) than he was. He seems to have done a lot of good work up at Sale and with Ford so far off the pace you wonder why he has not been involved more at England level recently.

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Post by LondonTiger Wed May 18, 2016 10:23 am

I suspect the coaches do not deem Ford as far off the pace as most fans.

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Post by LondonTiger Wed May 18, 2016 10:28 am

As to Armitage, I woudl have liked to have seen him in the AP two years ago when he was at his peak and so I coudl put to bed my doubts as to his ability. As it is Iwill probably always feel he was flattered by a Toulon team that worked completely to his strengths.

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Post by propdavid_london Wed May 18, 2016 11:47 am

I agree that perhaps this is all a bit too late...possibly should have happened with his rumoured Bath move a season back.
I would love to be proved wrong though and see him pulling up trees for Wasps or any other Prem club. Do we have the structures in place for EJ to parachute him into the England side if he does hit the ground running?.......I'm not so sure, although I am sure if EJ wants him involved then he will be (if he is performing).
As a Quins fan we have a few back row options but I would still love Steffan to go there. Played a lot of no.8 for Toulon too.

Cips - well he is going into an environment where he will be competing with Gopperth for the starting 10 spot. Will Wasps use him to cover 15 like they did with R.Jackson...possibly. But perhaps the increased competition will help improve his game. We will see.

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Post by fa0019 Wed May 18, 2016 2:32 pm

Sean Maitland was the joint top scorer in Super Rugby season 2011. Much easier to look good in a top side like the Crusaders alongside great players.

Not to say Armitage is overrated but without a big pack and the opposition on the backfoot, life as an openside is a lot more tricky.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Wed May 18, 2016 4:12 pm

I do wonder whether Steffon Armitage has the highest ratio of any player for International Caps:Column inches discussing his international prospects!!

Cipriani, Simpson-Daniel and Jamie Forrester will run him close, with an honourable mention for Nick Kennedy.

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Post by fa0019 Wed May 18, 2016 4:27 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:I do wonder whether Steffon Armitage has the highest ratio of any player for International Caps:Column inches discussing his international prospects!!

Cipriani, Simpson-Daniel and Jamie Forrester will run him close, with an honourable mention for Nick Kennedy.

I remember when Nick Kennedy was just breaking through and people were saying... up and coming youngster. We looked to see how old he was and he was 28.

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Post by Rugby Fan Wed May 18, 2016 4:34 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:I do wonder whether Steffon Armitage has the highest ratio of any player for International Caps:Column inches discussing his international prospects!!

Cipriani, Simpson-Daniel and Jamie Forrester will run him close, with an honourable mention for Nick Kennedy.
League converts fit that bill with Sam Burgess a prime example. Jarryd Hayne may yet beat him, now he's thrown his hat in the ring for sevens.





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Post by Exiledinborders Wed May 18, 2016 4:53 pm

Putting Cipriani and Simpson-Daniel in the same bracket is unfair. Mny of Cipriani's issues over the years have been self inflicted (broken leg excepted). His inability to kick consistently will keep him out of contention.

Sinbad's many injuries were very sad for him and deprived England of an exceptional attacking talent.

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Post by Exiledinborders Wed May 18, 2016 4:58 pm

It was interesting to see that Jones said of Armitage "If he signs for Wasps, gets fit and plays good rugby I’ll pick him." Ouch!

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Post by fa0019 Wed May 18, 2016 5:28 pm

Exiledinborders wrote:It was interesting to see that Jones said of Armitage "If he signs for Wasps, gets fit and plays good rugby I’ll pick him." Ouch!

he does look like he loves a big mac to be fair.

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Post by Poorfour Wed May 18, 2016 5:39 pm

fa0019 wrote:
Exiledinborders wrote:It was interesting to see that Jones said of Armitage "If he signs for Wasps, gets fit and plays good rugby I’ll pick him." Ouch!

he does look like he loves a big mac to be fair.

Considering that Eddie threw a pack of sweets at Ben Youngs and told him he was too fat, I wouldn't be surprised if his message to Steffon was delivered by Olly Kohn and his brothers wrapped round a whole hog roast.
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Post by SecretFly Wed May 18, 2016 6:18 pm

Alex_Germany wrote:
- Armitage hasn't been a dominant force this season. Maybe it's the rest of the Toulon team, maybe others are getting better, maybe he's getting older. He is 30 now

Maybe Toulon had to cut back on the intensity of training after their little pharmaceutical intrigues a while back.

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Post by Alex_Germany Wed May 18, 2016 8:54 pm

Exiledinborders wrote:Putting Cipriani and Simpson-Daniel in the same bracket is unfair. Mny of Cipriani's issues over the years have been self inflicted (broken leg excepted). His inability to kick consistently will keep him out of contention.

Sinbad's many injuries were very sad for him and deprived England of an exceptional attacking talent.

But we've already got Ford who's a bit flakey at kicking goals - especially from distance.

I guess at Wasps, Daly will take kicks over 40m. Maybe that would work for England.


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Post by GeordieFalcon Wed May 18, 2016 9:25 pm

Oh dear Lord not Armitage again.

Kvesic, Fraser, Underhill,  Haskell, Robshaw, Harrison,  Clifford...etc etc

Move on, next!!

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Post by tooboredtowork Sun May 22, 2016 8:21 pm

I don't think Toulon flattered him.
He was very, very good at London Irish.
Andy Hazel, in a Rugby World article stated that he was the best 7 in the prem. A real nuisance to play against, just what a 7 should be.
However, I don't think that age is on his side building to 2019.
If he can still cut the mustard in 2018 then I would be playing him, but at present we need to have one eye on the future and 2019 World Cup.
Although, contradicting myself, I suspect EJ's first eye is on qualifying for the draw in a seeded position. It seems that there is rarely time for development in international rugby.

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Post by Gooseberry Mon May 23, 2016 8:21 am

SecretFly wrote:
Alex_Germany wrote:
- Armitage hasn't been a dominant force this season. Maybe it's the rest of the Toulon team, maybe others are getting better, maybe he's getting older. He is 30 now

Maybe Toulon had to cut back on the intensity of training after their little pharmaceutical intrigues a while back.

Yeah people seem to forget that he not only failed a drugs test but also later got caught up in those allegations. Add to that the pretty nasty assault he admitted (hats off to his lawyers for suppressing so much of that in the Bristish media) and his mercenary nature its no great surprise that the talk of him alsways comes form the papers rather than the England set up.

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Post by fa0019 Mon May 23, 2016 9:12 am

Gooseberry wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
Alex_Germany wrote:
- Armitage hasn't been a dominant force this season. Maybe it's the rest of the Toulon team, maybe others are getting better, maybe he's getting older. He is 30 now

Maybe Toulon had to cut back on the intensity of training after their little pharmaceutical intrigues a while back.

Yeah people seem to forget that he not only failed a drugs test but also later got caught up in those allegations. Add to that the pretty nasty assault he admitted (hats off to his lawyers for suppressing so much of that in the Bristish media) and his mercenary nature its no great surprise that the talk of him alsways comes form the papers rather than the England set up.

The drug he failed on was codeine.. i.e. stuff even you and I can buy for moderate pain relief. He was cleared as it is not banned. Not sure how it failed. Its not performance enhancing nor a masking agent.

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Post by fa0019 Mon May 23, 2016 9:15 am

Also why do people say he's a mercenary? He joined Toulon before the RFU contract banning players in foreign leagues. If he is a merc then so is guys like George Ford who went to Leicester to Bath, Billy Vunipola who went from Wasps to Saracens etc etc.

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Post by LondonTiger Mon May 23, 2016 9:37 am

I suspect bringing in Vermuelan and letting Masoe go had more of an impact on Armitage than anything else. Toulon's back rows when they were winning Europe typically had two work horses (perm two from Masoe, Lobbe and Juan Smith) which allowed the luxury of Armitage. Recent years Armitage is a long way from AP Armitage - more powerful but slower with reduced workrate (fatter not fitter in Eddie's words?)

We will never know the impact of the pharmacy raids last spring - but the alleged mass use of painkillers in huge quantities would surely have been done to gain some benefit.

What happened with the assault charge. I know Armitage admitted causing the injuries (multiple facial fractures I believe) but claimed it was because he fell on top of the guy.

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Post by fa0019 Mon May 23, 2016 9:45 am

LondonTiger wrote:I suspect bringing in Vermuelan and letting Masoe go had more of an impact on Armitage than anything else. Toulon's back rows when they were winning Europe typically had two work horses (perm two from Masoe, Lobbe and Juan Smith) which allowed the luxury of Armitage. Recent years Armitage is a long way from AP Armitage - more powerful but slower with reduced workrate (fatter not fitter in Eddie's words?)

We will never know the impact of the pharmacy raids last spring - but the alleged mass use of painkillers in huge quantities would surely have been done to gain some benefit.

What happened with the assault charge. I know Armitage admitted causing the injuries (multiple facial fractures I believe) but claimed it was because he fell on top of the guy.

I think the fact they had Bakkies Botha, Carl Hayman, Andy Sheridan, Gorgodze etc etc in the tight five gave Armitage more of an armchair than having other world class backrowers beside him. Juan Smith was pretty much finished in SA rugby, looked a pace behind his peers but in Toulon with their massive tight 5 in the JW years he too was able to shine.

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Post by SecretFly Mon May 23, 2016 11:03 am

fa0019 wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
Alex_Germany wrote:
- Armitage hasn't been a dominant force this season. Maybe it's the rest of the Toulon team, maybe others are getting better, maybe he's getting older. He is 30 now

Maybe Toulon had to cut back on the intensity of training after their little pharmaceutical intrigues a while back.

Yeah people seem to forget that he not only failed a drugs test but also later got caught up in those allegations. Add to that the pretty nasty assault he admitted (hats off to his lawyers for suppressing so much of that in the Bristish media) and his mercenary nature its no great surprise that the talk of him alsways comes form the papers rather than the England set up.

The drug he failed on was codeine.. i.e. stuff even you and I can buy for moderate pain relief. He was cleared as it is not banned. Not sure how it failed. Its not performance enhancing nor a masking agent.

I'd say if you can play without feeling those hits as much as some guy not on the 'medication' then that's an advantage in performance terms as you're not going to be as effected by the attritional nature of a high end game as the guys you're bulling into.

Codeine isn't banned but I tire of the 'innocent' reasons given for the slip ups when athletes are found to have overly indulged in the pharmacy goodies - plus - a team's medical personnel always know exactly what's on the that banned list and what isn't.

I haven't heard much about that irregular Pharmacy incident since - certainly in the English speaking press.  Something else buried in the interests of the growth of rugby I wonder?  But Toulon it seems haven't been half the team since.....?

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Post by Exiledinborders Fri May 27, 2016 11:54 am

Apparently it is being reported in France that he has signed for Pau.

If so that is an end to talk of him playing for England.

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Post by little_badger Fri May 27, 2016 12:26 pm

Exiledinborders wrote:Apparently it is being reported in France that he has signed for Pau.

If so that is an end to talk of him playing for England.

Good. There are better, younger players who are in England. Frankly I wish the media would get over Steffon Armitage, can we not concentrate on some of the excellent young backrow prospects we do have.

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Post by Gooseberry Fri May 27, 2016 1:06 pm

little_badger wrote:
Exiledinborders wrote:Apparently it is being reported in France that he has signed for Pau.

If so that is an end to talk of him playing for England.

Good. There are better, younger players who are in England. Frankly I wish the media would get over Steffon Armitage, can we not concentrate on some of the excellent young backrow prospects we do have.

The best players are always the ones who arent getting selected.

There has to be a cheesey 80s soft rock band related pun in this move to Pau somewhere.

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Post by LondonTiger Fri May 27, 2016 1:15 pm

Not soft rock but this came to mind:

Talking Heads - "Road to Nowhere"

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Post by Poorfour Fri May 27, 2016 2:36 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
little_badger wrote:
Exiledinborders wrote:Apparently it is being reported in France that he has signed for Pau.

If so that is an end to talk of him playing for England.

Good. There are better, younger players who are in England. Frankly I wish the media would get over Steffon Armitage, can we not concentrate on some of the excellent young backrow prospects we do have.

The best players are always the ones who arent getting selected.

There has to be a cheesey 80s soft rock band related pun in this move to Pau somewhere.

Something like "Steffon's England dreams prove to be china in his hand as he moves T'pau"?
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Post by Rugby Fan Fri May 27, 2016 3:40 pm

Poorfour wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:There has to be a cheesey 80s soft rock band related pun in this move to Pau somewhere.

Something like "Steffon's England dreams prove to be china in his hand as he moves T'pau"?
That was like an itch I couldn't scratch, so I'm glad we got there.

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