Armitage lands another ban

Armitage lands another ban

England in hot water with the authorities yet again

Delon Armitage (R) tackles Bath's Tom Biggs during the Aviva Premiership clash last month

England international Delon Armitage has been hit with his fourth suspension of 2011 after being banned for a total of eight weeks by a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing.

The London Irish back was handed a five-week suspension after being found guilty of a dangerous tackle on Bath winger Tom Biggs during the Aviva Premiership meeting between the two sides on October 29.

In addition, he was found guilty of striking lock Dave Attwood with a knee during the same fixture, with that offence carrying a three-week penalty which will be served concurrently with the longer punishment.

Armitage will be available to play again on December 9. His ban is backdated to November 4 – the date when London Irish suspended him following an internal hearing.

Out of Heineken Cup clashes

As a result the full-back will miss Heineken Cup clashes with Edinburgh and Cardiff Blues, plus Premiership assignments against Wasps and Saracens.

“We increased it (the ban) to eight because of concerns raised by the IRB about injuries caused by dangerous tackles and because of his poor disciplinary record. ”
RFU statement on Delon ArmitageQuotes of the week

Already this year the 27-year-old has served an eight-week ban for pushing and verbally abusing an anti-doping official in a game on New Year’s Day, and was then sidelined for another three weeks for a punch on Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler in April.

Armitage also missed England’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to France for a high tackle on Scotland’s Chris Paterson.

RFU disciplinary chief, Judge Jeff Blackett, who chaired the disciplinary panel, said in a statement: “We accept that both these incidents were reckless and not malicious.

“However, in relation to the dangerous tackle on Tom Biggs there was the potential for significant injury and for that reason we believe that it was a mid-range entry level offence of six weeks.

“We increased it to eight because of concerns raised by the IRB about injuries caused by dangerous tackles and because of his poor disciplinary record.

Impressive conduct at hearing

“We then reduced the sanction to five weeks because of his guilty plea, his contrition and the impressive way he conducted himself at the hearing.

“In relation to the strike to which he also pleaded guilty, we decided that this was a low-end entry offence and for that we imposed a three-week suspension.”

Blackett also warned that Armitage, who has 26 England caps, must heed the lessons of the various punishments he has faced this year.

“Delon has unfortunately had several disciplinary issues this year and it is a shame that he once again finds himself not playing,” he added.

“However, we hope that he will learn from these events and we look forward to him resuming the game he quite clearly feels very passionate about.”

The RFU also announced that the citing of Saracens’ Owen Farrell, for an alleged dangerous tackle onGloucester’s Henry Trinder, had been dismissed after the panel deemed there had been no act of foul play.