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Top 14 Orange
Armitage cleared for pre-season action
ESPN Staff
August 2, 2012
Toulon's Steffon Armitage delights in a score against Castres, Toulon v Castres, Top 14 Orange, Stade Mayol, Toulon, France, April 21, 2012
Steffon Armitage is confident that he will clear his name © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Steffon Armitage
Tournaments/Tours: Top 14 Orange
Teams: England | Toulon

Toulon flanker Steffon Armitage has been cleared for the remainder of his side's pre-season campaign but must still face an anti-doping hearing later this month.

The 26-year-old England international was informed last week that he tested positive for the prohibited substance morphine after his side's Top 14 final defeat to Toulouse on June 9.

He was provisionally suspended ahead of his appearance before in front of a French Rugby Federation (AFLD) anti-doping commission on August 21, but that has now been lifted enabling him to feature in the Top 14 warm-up games against Bordeaux-Begles and Mont-de-Marsan.

A statement on club website www.rctoulon.com read: "Temporarily suspended pending a hearing before the anti-doping commission on August 21, the Toulon flanker has had his penalty lifted and is therefore able to play the last two friendly matches with Rugby Club Toulonnais.

"Nevertheless, he will still be called before the commission to fight the case against doping on August 21."

AFP reports that the club maintain the test showed an "abnormal" result, a side-effect of painkillers and anti-inflammatories which club medical staff prescribed for back pain. The club also say the products are approved by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD).

Speaking last week, Armitage said: "It's a bit stressful, especially for my family in England. But I will keep my head held high because I have done nothing wrong.

"I know that everything will soon be sorted, that I will be able to forget about this and come back stronger."

Toulon kicked off their pre-season campaign with a 40-12 victory over Stade Francais last Friday night and will begin their latest assault on the Top 14 crown away at Perpignan on August 18.

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