Court calls for more info on Armitage assault case

Steffon Armitage wants to play in England hut has not spoken to England head coach Eddie Jones

A court in France has asked for further inquiries into allegations of assault by Toulon’s former England flanker Steffon Armitage

Armitage faces a five to six-month suspended prison sentence and E5,000 ($5,649) fine over the incident which occurred in a Toulon restaurant on December 13.

After the judgement hearing, which Armitage did not attend, his lawyer Clement Lambert said, “There are still a number of grey areas in this case that perhaps further investigation will throw light on. “

Armitage, last season’s European player of the year and capped five times by England, is alleged to have struck a 31-year-old man at the end of an evening drinking with team-mates following their side’s 23-8 victory over Leicester in the European Champions Cup.

Armitage denies the charge but according to witnesses, a fight broke out and Armitage, 29, and Toulon prop Xavier Chiocci, 25, who was later released without charge by police, felled the restaurant-goer before striking him, injuring his eye.

The 29-year-old back row forward is not a member of England’s Six Nations squad, but he may involved at the World Cup if Lancaster decides to temporarily relax the rule on not picking overseas-based players.

Lancaster on Monday warned his players to stay out of trouble and says that he has not spoken to Toulon or Armitage about the incident.

“I’ve not spoken to anyone from Toulon or the player. I’ll wait and see how the process unfolds, ” Lancaster said.

“Clearly from my point of view, behaviour and standards on and off the field are critically important in any team. We’ll wait and see, but ultimately you know my view on it. “



Lancaster has offered his thoughts on another player who will not be involved against Ireland on Sunday but may yet figure at the World Cup, Sam Burgess.

Burgess has been disappointing since his switch from rugby league to union late last year and his performance for Bath against Northampton on Saturday was poor, but Lancaster remains upbeat over his progress.

“I think he his doing well. He’s been here three months in a new code, playing at highest level, ” Lancaster said.

“Realistically the Six Nations was always going to be a push. And the World Cup would be too, but never say never. “

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