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Armitage rumours played down

Exiles boss Booth says flanker not yet certain to leave

Last updated: 17th April 2011   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Armitage rumours played down

Armitage: Toulon rumours

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London Irish head coach Toby Booth has stated that Steffon Armitage's potential move to Toulon is not yet a done deal.

It was reported on Friday that Armitage would make a switch to the Top 14 outfit on a two-year deal, but Booth has said nothing is yet officially agreed.

The 25-year-old was in fine form during the Exiles' 34-20 win over Sale on Saturday and after the match Booth was quick to stress that he is still under contract.

"Steffon Armitage is in the middle of a three-year contract. We knew last year that he had two-years left on his contract," he said.

"There's no contract signed anywhere else, no compromise agreement, no anything, but ultimately we want world class players.

"Steffon's got world class attributes and we want him at the club. If we don't, we want players with those world class attributes."

Melbourne Rebels flanker Michael Lipman is rumoured to be a possible replacement should Armitage leave and Booth confirmed there have been talks.

Improvements

He added: "We spoke to him of course, but that's not because of the Steffon situation as want to improve our squad year in, year out.

"Everybody's talking about George Stowers leaving, so therefore we've got opportunities in our back-row. There's a lot of two and two makes four, five or six and I understand why those people make those predictions.

"He (Lipman) has decisions to make around his future. He's a very loyal and committed player. The fact that he's been a good captain for Bath when he was there and the fact that he's playing exceptionally well for the Rebels makes him a very exciting prospect."

Sale mounted a second-half fightback in front of a record home crowd of 16,428 in the one-off clash at the Reebok Stadium, and executive director of sport Steve Diamond hopes the occasion will bring fans back to Edgeley Park.

"We're in Greater Manchester, it's only 20 minutes from the centre of where Edgeley is so it was a great occasion and a well planned event," he said.

He added: "You can't come out to a better environment, 16 or 17,000 people here.

"They've trained well week, it's not nerves, it's the level of player that we have with us in some positions. That's why the recruitment drive is to get a pack of forwards."

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Phil Edwards

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