Armitage hit by fourth ban of 2011


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The Independent Online

England international Delon Armitage was last night banned for five weeks for his dangerous tackle on Bath wing Tom Biggs, bringing him his fourth suspension of the year.

Armitage will also serve a three-week ban for striking lock Dave Attwood with his knee in the same fixture, a penalty that will run concurrently with the longer penalty. He will be available to play again on 9 December.

The 27-year-old 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.

The head of the RFU's disciplinary panel, Judge Jeff Blackett, 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.

"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."

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

The Cardiff Blues chairman, Peter Thomas, wants the former Wasps coach Shaun Edwards to become their part-time defence coach. Thomas has put the idea to the Welsh Rugby Union in the hope the out-of-contract coach will accept a combined club and Wales role.

Thomas said: "I'd very much like him [Edwards] to come to the Blues." Edwards left his role as Wasps head coach on Sunday while his Wales contract expired at the end of the World Cup.