Armitage: London Irish lure forced me to end France Exile

AHEAD of London Irish’s Amlin Cup match away to Bordeaux-Begles, Exiles centre Guy Armitage has revealed that the pull of returning to the club persuaded him to leave his brothers in Toulon.

In addition to his siblings Delon and Steffon, Armitage earlier this year agreed a transfer to Toulon before returning to Irish on a season-long loan without making a solitary appearance at the club and says that his love for the Exiles mean a return was too much to resist.

“It’s a huge family club,” said Armitage. “I joined when I was 14 so had already spent six years here. I’ve grown up with these players as most of them have come through the academy system. You build a bond with coaches and players.

“You build up a relationship so that when you leave you still want them to win and do well and there’s always the feeling that if you get the chance to go back, you would.”

The 20-year-old is one of five rugby-playing brothers – Joel is a prop with London Irish and Bevon is a centre for Plymouth Albion – but it was the most distinguished of them, England full-back Delon, who persuaded him that the move would benefit his career.

“I’m here for a year and it will turn out to be a massive year for me,” Armitage explains.

“They need a centre and I’m looking to get a starting spot. I want to play 12 while Jonathan Joseph is around and then 13 if he goes away for international duty.”

SARACENS tomorrow travel to Edinburgh in the opening fixture of their Heineken Cup campaign but despite their attempts to persuade the Scots to play the return fixture in Cape Town in South Africa on January 20, their request will not be granted.

“Following Edinburgh Rugby to South Africa is simply not an option for the vast majority whose support was so crucial to our journey to last season’s semi-final,” said Edinburgh managing director Craig Docherty.

“I am sure they will be desperate to support us in what could be a critical pool game. The case made by Saracens was not commercially compelling and would have had a detrimental effect on our preparation for this match.”