Armitage named Top 14 Player of the Season
May 14, 2012
Former England international Steffon Armitage has made a significant impact since signing for Toulon last summer © Getty Images
Toulon flanker Steffon Armitage has been named the Top 14's Player of the Season by influential French rugby newspaper Midi Olimpique.
The England international, who made the switch from Premiership side London Irish to French rugby's top flight last summer, edged out Castres' Chris Masoe and Clermont Auvergne's Gerhard Vosloo for the honour of the league's top performer.
Armitage, who won the last of his five Test caps against Italy in the 2010 Six Nations, has returned to top form for Toulon who will continue their quest for the Bouclier de Brennus against Racing Metro in the Top 14 play-offs on May 26.
The 26-year-old was widely tipped to earn an international recall for England's tour of South Africa next month but he failed to get the nod from coach Stuart Lancaster. However, Lancaster insisted that Armitage remained on his radar despite the Rugby Football Union previously stating that they would no longer select players plying their trade abroad.
"We have this situation where, in exceptional circumstances, we have the opportunity to bring players back," Lancaster said last week. "Steffon is an example of that. He is clearly playing well, although we do have other players in his position playing well too. He is not out of the equation and he is one we will consider."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin