Delon Armitage to quit Irish for Toulon
April 16, 2012
Irish star Delon Armitage is set to join his brothers Steffon and Guy at Toulon next season © Getty Images
London Irish have confirmed that England international Delon Armitage will leave the club at the end of the season in favour of a move to French side Toulon.
The 28-year-old has been linked with a move to the big-spending Top 14 side for several months and the lucrative two-year deal will see him link up with brother Steffon and Guy who signed for the club last summer and earlier this year respectively.
Armitage, who won the last of his 23 Test caps during England's disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign, has endured a troubled career of late with a recent arrest following a nightclub incident leading to his removal from the Saxons squad.
The fullback was previously suspended for eight weeks after he pushed a doping officer following a Premiership game between London Irish and Bath last January. Then he received a three-week punishment for striking Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler, and he also collected a one-match ban during the World Cup after a high tackle on Scotland fullback Chris Paterson. Armitage was then hit with a five-week suspension for a dangerous tackle on Bath wing Tom Biggs, and a three-week ban for kneeing Bath lock Dave Attwood in the same game which ran concurrently.
Despite his recent woes, London Irish head coach Toby Booth was quick to pay tribute to his long-standing player. "Delon is one of many players who has committed over 10 years' service to this club. I wish him and his family the best in the future and thank him for his considerable involvement in London Irish's success in recent times. We are sad to see him leave but wish him the very best of luck at Toulon. Personally I hope he regains the form to see him return to international status in the future."
Commenting on his impending move, Armitage said: "I would like to thank everyone involved at London Irish, in particular Toby Booth, who I have worked closely with during my time at Sunbury. My partner, Jemma, our children and I, have thoroughly enjoyed the environment at the Club and will go away with some fantastic memories.
"I feel it's the right time for me to move on at this stage in my rugby career. Irish has been a huge part of my life and it's been a real honour to be a part of. I would also like to thank the supporters and team mates that I have got to know over the last decade. I am looking forward to joining Steffon and Guy at Toulon but my immediate priority is ensuring that London Irish finish the season on a high with two victories."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
ESPN looks at the forthcoming season of the Guinness PRO12 and assesses how each of the 12 teams will do
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch