England set to miss out on Steffon Armitage due to RFU rules as flanker admits his interest in playing for France
Stuart Lancaster is prevented from picking Armitage due to RFU rules - so the star flanker may choose to play for France instead
Steffon Armitage has risked angering England head coach Stuart Lancaster by suggesting that he may attempt to qualify for France in time for the 2015 World Cup.
Armitage, last capped by England in 2010 was recently crowned European Player of the Year - increasing the pressure on Lancaster to speak out against the RFU's policy of refusing to pick players who are based overseas.
The England coach has been a staunch supporter of the rule which could see him lose the services of dynamic flanker Armitage on a permanent basis.
Steffon Armitage has reportedly expressed an interest in playing for France
Any attempt by the Toulon player to qualify for France would be fraught with complications, however. Armitage could take advantage of a loophole in the IRB qualifying regulations for the Olympic Sevens tournament, which permits a player to turn out for another country if he holds the passport of that nation and has not played international rugby in the previous year and a half.
Armitage, then, would require a French passport - and would then be obliged by the French Sevens squad to eat into his Toulon playing time by appearing in a series of sevens tournaments around the world.
If those two conditions were fulfilled, the former London Irish forward could then find his path to international recognition blocked by Serge Blanco, assistant to Philippe Saint-Andre with the French squad, who dislikes the growing trend of overseas players exploiting loopholes to play for their adopted countries.
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre