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Armitage sets sights high

Delon Armitage has revealed his determination to break into England's World Cup side and test himself against the best.

England arrived in New Zealand squad on Tuesday on a mission to regain the Webb Ellis Cup but Armitage has also set himself personal goals, with one of his aims being to pit his wits against the world's best back-three talent, such as New Zealand great Mils Muliaina and Australia prodigies Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor.

"You want to be the best in the world in your position," said the 27-year-old. "You look at those guys and think they're amazing. You watch Kurtley and the way he plays week in and week out and guys like O'Connor and Mils Muliaina. If you get an opportunity to play against them, that's what you want."

He added: "To play against the best players in the world and to have that opportunity would be massive."

Armitage thought he had flushed away his World Cup place after getting himself needlessly banned twice this year.

The London Irish star missed the entire RBS 6 Nations after being banned for pushing an anti-doping official before getting himself suspended again for England's May clash with the Barbarians after striking an opponent during an Aviva Premiership game.

Manager Martin Johnson last week put his faith in Armitage by selecting the full-back in his 30-man World Cup squad, having recalled him for the warm-up matches against Wales and Ireland.

Armitage capitalised on his reprieve by coming off the bench to score in Dublin four days ago and is now determined to do everything possible to play a part in England's Pool B opener against Argentina a week on Saturday.

"I've got that hunger back," said Armitage, who is competing with Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and Mark Cueto for a place in the back three. "I've got an opportunity to go out to the big show so now everything is focused on getting selected for that Argentina game."


From Belfast Telegraph