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Armitage sets World Cup target

Delon Armitage set his sights on this year's World Cup after delivering a man-of-the-match performance on his return from his eight-match ban.

The London Irish full-back took only 40 seconds to make his mark with the opening try in the Exiles' 39-17 Aviva Premiership home win over Exeter. Armitage missed the entire RBS 6 Nations while serving his suspension for abusing a drug-testing official following the New Year's Day home defeat by Bath.

He said: "It's been a long eight weeks but it's great to be back. I tracked Daniel Bowden and when he kicked through I made sure I got there for the try," he said

"I just wanted to get back playing in front of our home supporters with the boys who have supported me and helped me out through the hard times.

"It's been really tough watching the guys. With the squad we've got, we haven't been performing the best we can but today we showed we are contenders to be in the top four."

Armitage, who lost his place as England's first-choice full-back to Ben Foden last year, was grateful that England manager Martin Johnson kept him involved in the training squad while he was suspended.

He said: "It was quite tough training, knowing that I couldn't play on the weekend, but I really enjoyed being part of it.

"Martin Johnson has been really supportive. He telephoned me, got me down and kept me involved, which I'm really grateful for because I want to be involved.

"It's a big year with the World Cup coming and, with only five league games left, hopefully I can push to get a place in that 30-man squad.

"I'm pleased for the guys who have been doing really well. It's about winning for England and if Foden and the boys are doing a job and we're winning I'm really happy."


From Belfast Telegraph