Armitage back in trouble
England international Delon Armitage is back in hot water with Rugby Football Union disciplinary chiefs.
The London Irish full-back missed this season's entire RBS 6 Nations Championship after receiving an eight-week ban for pushing an anti-doping officer and using threatening and/or abusive language during a test following the Exiles' Aviva Premiership game against Bath on January 1.
Armitage, capped 19 times, has now been cited for striking Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler during a Premiership match between the clubs last weekend.
He faces an RFU disciplinary hearing next Tuesday, when any suspension could potentially sideline him for England's appointment with the Barbarians on May 29 and England Saxons' Churchill Cup campaign in June. Armitage has been reported by independent citing officer Alan Mansell for striking Myler with his hand.
He will now face a three-man RFU panel in London, comprising chairman Jeremy Summers, Philip Evans and Peter Budge. If the charge is proved, then Armitage's recent suspension looks certain to be taken into account. He appealed the ban imposed on him earlier this year, but it was thrown out.
At the time, RFU disciplinary officer Judge Jeff Blackett said: "His behaviour was completely unacceptable. It brought discredit on himself and his club, and failed to uphold one of the core values of the game - respect.
"Doping control officers should expect to carry out their important work without fear of abuse, and be treated with respect at all times. We took into account that it was not a violent push, but more of a brush past, and that was accepted by the doping control officer.
"We took the offences as a whole and, in line with the sanctions for abuse of match officials, we decided that a low-end entry point of 12 weeks was appropriate. This was reduced to eight weeks on account of his remorse, his letter of apology to the doping control officer and his relatively good record."
Ben Foden has established himself as England's number one full-back this season, but Armitage's ability to play 15, centre or on the wing makes him a potentially valuable option for England boss Martin Johnson when he considers his World Cup squad this summer.
The cut-off date for naming World Cup squads is August 22, while the tournament starts in Auckland on September 9 when New Zealand tackle Tonga.