Armitage desperate to take his second chance

If England's victory over Ireland in Dublin solved a couple of difficult World Cup conundrums – it is now very hard to see Martin Johnson, the manager, going into the big game with Argentina a week on Saturday without the Sale prop Andrew Sheridan or the Gloucester centre Mike Tindall – it also raised a question or two. Not least over the full-back position, where Ben Foden's status as a nailed-on starter is not quite as secure as he imagined at the beginning of the month.

Delon Armitage, trouble on legs at club level but generally well-behaved on Test duty, enjoyed an excellent warm-up series, catching the eye with his counter-attacking in the first of the two games against Wales and then scoring a try from the left wing at Lansdowne Road. By those standards, Foden endured a rough August.

"I thought I'd messed up my chances of playing at the World Cup," admitted Armitage, whose verbal and physical excesses while playing for London Irish cost him his place in the Six Nations squad and also denied him a reviving run-out against the Barbarians in May. "I couldn't make Martin's decision for him: all I could do was put some pressure on him by performing well when given the opportunity.

"There's going to be some needle every time you play, but all this stuff about me being a problem for England is rubbish. Go back and look: I've never had a problem. I want to play for my country, I don't want to let the side down and I'm aware that I need to react in the right way and show some self-control. I have to grow up and get on with it. The important thing is that I have my hunger back. I have a chance to go to the big show and play a part. And that's all I want to do – play, whether it's at full-back, wing or centre."

At least Armitage was on the plane when it left for Auckland on Monday afternoon. Ireland flew out yesterday without their long-serving centre Gordon D'Arcy, who picked up a calf strain during a recovery session and was told to delay his departure for 48 hours. There were also continuing concerns over the fitness of the captain, Brian O'Driscoll, who missed the England match with a neck injury.

"At a push, I could probably have played, but I thought it was smart to stay out of it," said the stellar midfielder, who was permitted to fly by the team medics. "I feel as though I should be grand in a couple of weeks, and in good shape to kick things off in the first game against the United States."

One player who will not be around for his country's first-up fixture is the New Zealand No 8 Kieran Read, who damaged ankle ligaments during the Tri-Nations loss to Australia in Brisbane at the weekend. A key figure in the All Blacks' back row, he is unlikely to feature in any of the pool matches.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea