Armitage is not leaving London Irish: Booth

London Irish coach Toby Booth has dismissed reports that flanker Steffon Armitage has joined Toulon and insists that he is still an Exiles player.

Reports surfaced last week stating that Booth had signed a two-year deal with the Top 14 Rugby team even though he has a contract with the Exiles until the end of 2012.

“He’s still contracted to London Irish so as we sit here now he’s not going anywhere,” Booth said of the 25-year-old Armitage.

“Having worked together for so long I’d be bitterly disappointed to lose him.” he told BBC Berkshire.

Armitage joined London Irish in 2006 and extended with a three year deal that would keep him at the club until the end of the 2011-2012 season.

Booth says that London Irish want to retain the the England flanker who grew up in France and speaks French fluently as number eight George Stowers will leave them at the end of the season.

Armitage showed his worth on Saturday when he scored a try in London Irish’s 34-20 victory Sale Sharks which has kept them in the hunt for a top four spot.

“Steffon can do things that other players can’t do you want of those sort of players in your team,” Booth said.

“We’ve had various successes and failures together and we’ve helped him to achieve one of his ambitions of playing for England.

“If his ambitions have changed and he wants to look at other opportunities then we will discuss that.

“I want world class players at this club so whether I want to keep him or not sometimes is taken out of my hands.

“But one thing you can be certain is if Steffon does leave the club it won’t be until we have a replacement and it will need to be a replacement of a suitable standard.”

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