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Armitage in trouble again

London Irish and England full-back Delon Armitage is facing the possibility of further disciplinary proceedings.

Armitage, who has had his fair share of brushes with the rugby authorities, was possibly more sinned against than the sinner in his side's 19-10 defeat at Newcastle - a result which keeps alive the Falcons' faint hopes of avoiding relegation.

Armitage was felled by a punch by Falcons lock Adriaan Fondse which led to the South African being sent off in the 60th minute by referee JP Doyle after the intervention of his touch judge and the Falcons fans were further incensed when Armitage charged into a tackle later in the game and appeared to short-arm Newcastle centre James Fitzpatrick.

There was no penalty and the referee either did not see the incident or possibly felt there was nothing wrong with the tackle, but many of the crowd disagreed and there is the possibility Armitage could be cited if the independent match commissioner feels there is a case to answer.

It was also Armitage's pass that was intercepted by Newcastle wing Ryan Shortland for the crucial Falcons try.

London Irish head coach Toby Booth was in no doubt that Armitage had been struck.

"I've seen it and I don't think the referee had any choice. It was a punch," he said. "You have to give credit to the guy who made the interception - it was three on one and he's picked it up off his toes. If he hadn't done that, we would have scored.

"It was a messy game and the Kingston Park factor was very much in evidence. Both sides put in a massive amount of effort but you've just seen why six clubs were trying to sign Jimmy Gopperth. You don't want to be making mistakes like we did at the start with a horrible swirling wind at your back."

Newcastle's director of rugby Gary Gold added: "I haven't seen the incident, but I'm sure the referee is not going to make a red card decision very easily and I'm very disappointed.

"Our backs are against the wall and that is one of things you can control and I will be very disappointed if we have let ourselves down. You just can't afford to do that and we're lucky we didn't pay a higher price for that sending off."

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