FORMER England international Delon Armitage has received an eight-week ban after being cited for a tip tackle in last weekend’s Heineken Cup game between Toulon and Montpellier.
The suspension was announced by European Rugby Cup last night, following Toulon full-back Armitage’s appearance at a disciplinary hearing in Dublin. Armitage, who has a poor disciplinary record, pleaded not guilty but his suspension means he cannot play again until 18 March, which is three weeks before Toulon’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leicester.
Armitage, who has won 26 England caps, was yellow-carded by referee Alain Rolland following the first-half incident that involved Montpellier full-back Pierre Berard, but a complaint was then made against Armitage by citing commissioner Shaun Gallagher. Independent judicial officer Robert Williams heard evidence and submissions from Armitage and Toulon team manager Tom Whitford.
In a statement, ERC said: “The judicial officer found that Armitage had committed an intentional tip tackle. The act was in the mid-range of the IRB’s sanctioning regime (eight weeks) and in line with the IRB’s memorandum on deterring tip tackles, and taking into account the player’s previous disciplinary record, he added a further two weeks. Due to Armitage’s remorse and good conduct during the hearing, the judicial officer then deducted two weeks.”
Former London Irish player Armitage, 29, received an eight-week ban in early 2011 for pushing a doping officer and using abusive language when asked to provide a urine specimen.
That was followed the same year by suspensions for striking an opponent during a league match, a dangerous high tackle on Bath wing Tom Biggs and for a high tackle during England’s final pool fixture of the 2011 World Cup against Scotland.