Rugby: England star suspended after arrest

Delon Armitage in action at the World Cup. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Delon Armitage in action at the World Cup. Photo / Brett Phibbs

England's Delon Armitage has been suspended from the national reserve Saxons squad after being arrested for alleged assault, the Rugby Football Union announced Monday.

London Irish full-back Armitage was detained by Devon and Cornwall Police after an incident in a nightclub early on January 29, according to an RFU statement.

He was later released on bail.

Armitage had been released from the England Saxons camp following the international match against the reserve Ireland Wolfhounds on Saturday, which England won 23-17.

His suspension came in the same month that Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care was told he would not be considered for England Six Nations selection this season following his arrest for drink-driving on New Year's Day.

Care subsequently appeared before magistrates, where he admitted a drink-driving charge, He was fined 3,000 and banned from driving for 16 months.

The RFU said: "The London Irish full-back was released from the England Saxons camp following the international match against the Ireland Wolfhounds on January 28.

"He was later arrested in Torquay on suspicion of assault following an altercation in a nightclub, interviewed and then released on police bail while inquiries continue.''

England's acting coach Stuart Lancaster added: "We take issues surrounding the behaviour of England players very seriously, and as such have decided to suspend Delon from the Saxons EPS pending the result of the police inquiry.

"We will then consider if further action is appropriate under the EPS code of conduct.''

Lancaster added: "High standards of behaviour are required from England players on and off the field, and they also need to understand that they should not put themselves in a potentially vulnerable position or environment.''

London Irish, in a separate statement, said: "London Irish is extremely disappointed to hear about the incident involving Delon while on an England Saxons release period, and takes these matters extremely seriously.

"We fully understand the RFU stance on this matter, and will convene our own internal investigation to procure a full understanding of the matter in question, the outcome of which will determine any further action.''

Armitage, a member of England's 2011 World Cup squad, was banned four times in 2011.

He missed the Six Nations following an eight-week ban for pushing an anti-doping official and got a three-week suspension in April for striking an opponent in a Premiership fixture.

Despite also missing England's match against the Barbarians in May he was recalled to the squad for the World Cup but couldn't avoid staying out of trouble in New Zealand.

He was banned for England's World Cup quarter-final defeat by France following a dangerous tackle.

- AFP

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