Armitage ready to cast off shackles
June 8, 2010
Delon Armitage endured a tough 6 Nations © Getty Images
Delon Armitage is once again looking forward to playing his natural attacking game after being picked for England as they take on the Australian Barbarians in Perth.
Armitage says his loss of form during the Six Nations was due to the nature of the England management's cautious tactics which stifled his natural game and left him playing "like a robot".
"The Six Nations was very disappointing for me," said Armitage. "I went away from how I like to play rugby. I became a bit of a robot. I just wasn't ready. The coaching staff backed me but I probably just wasn't ready to get back into Test rugby. I would be kicking the ball senselessly at times and in my head, I was getting back from the coaches: 'Don't get turned over in our half, don't do this'.
"In my head I just thought: 'I can't get turned over so I am going to kick this ball 60 metres down the field' whereas before I would have taken that risk. When I was flying and full of confidence, I would have had a go from anywhere.
"But I would see a couple of guys getting turned over in our half and the coaches were saying: 'We don't want to see that'."
After losing his place in the side to Ben Foden, Armitage said that he did not expect to be part of England's five-match tour of Australia and New Zealand. Now back in the England fold once again, he is determined to make the most of the opportunity to rediscover his old form.
"I went back to Irish and I still wasn't playing to the best of my ability, so I was quite lucky to get on this trip. This is another opportunity for me to prove to the coaches and everyone that I can get back to where I was a year ago, in that England No.15 shirt."
With Charlie Hodgson and Olly Barkley in the squad, Armitage is hoping their attacking instincts will bring out the best in his game.
"In the Six Nations I probably touched the ball three times when we were running in the back line. Charlie and Olly are brilliant and they have great vision," added Armitage. "We are going to have a go. We are not going to get into this Test team by kicking the ball away, watching Australia play and defending. I want to have a go and do what I do best - counter-attack and take people on one-on-one. I want to do the best I can in this game and hopefully get in that Test team."
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