Steffon Armitage tells Rugby Club he wants to play for England again

Last Updated: 29/03/13 10:54am

Toulon flanker Steffon Armitage has challenged the England coaches to watch him in France as he continues to thrive in the French Top 14.

Armitage was voted top overseas players in France last year and he has continued that form this season, helping Toulon to the summit of the Top 14 table and into the last eight of the Heineken Cup.

However, the 27-year-old continues to be overlooked by England head coach Stuart Lancaster; he has not played for his country since 2010 and the chances of him adding to his five caps appear remote at present.

Lancaster is reluctant to select players who are based in France but there have also been suggestions that Armitage's weight and fitness may be a factor in his exclusion from the England squad.

"I don't whether they have had conversations with our conditioning coach but they have not had any conversations with me."

Steffon Armitage

Asked if those suggestions annoyed him, Armitage told the Rugby Club: "Yes, they do. I have always been like this and this is the fittest that I have ever been. I have been playing 80 minutes week in and week out.

"Maybe they have to come out and see. I don't whether they have had conversations with our conditioning coach but they have not had any conversations with me."

Toulon continue their quest for a domestic and European double this weekend with an away trip to Stade Francais in the Top 14 before taking on Leicester in the Heineken Cup quarter-final at the Stade Felix-Mayol on April 7.

While Armitage is guarded against any form of complacency, he is confident Toulon have the talent - which includes Jonny Wilkinson and Matt Giteau - to complete a momentous double after losing in the Top 14 and Amlin Challenge Cup finals last year.

The Scary Ones

"We were close last year when we got to two finals in two competitions and obviously failed," he said. "So that is still in the back of our heads and we want to make amends for that.

"We want to go out there and prove ourselves and fight for everything. With the guys we have got I think we could win both tournaments and we are going to give it a good go.

"We base ourselves around the set piece. The forwards have to do their job first, we have got to slow them down, we have got to get stuck into them and we got to be more physical than everyone and that is what we are trying to do at the moment. We want to be the scary ones."

On the clash with Leicester in two weeks' time, Armitage said: "I think it is going to be a really interesting game and I am really looking forward to it because after all I don't know what to expect.

"I haven't really seen much of what they have done this season but I know they are not just going to come here and let us put 50 points on them. It is going to be a tough game and I am looking forward to it."

And Armitage believes home advantage could be crucial in the quarter-final clash with the Tigers.

"There have been so many close games when the crowd has just got behind us and the chants get going and then it just seems like everyone lifts their game and the ball just flows.

"I definitely do think without them we wouldn't be the team we are."