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A fourth ban for England ace Del.

ENGLAND international Delon Armitage is to serve his fourth suspension of 2011 after being banned for five weeks by a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing.

The London Irish back was handed the suspension after being found guilty of a dangerous tackle on Bath wing Tom Biggs during the Aviva Premiership meeting between the sides on October 29.

Armitage was also found guilty of striking lock Dave Attwood with a knee during the same fixture, that offence carrying a three-week penalty which will be served concurrently with the longer punishment.

Armitage will be available to play again on December 9. His ban is backdated to November 4, the date when London Irish suspended him following an internal hearing.

As a result, the fullback will miss Heineken Cup meetings with Edinburgh and Cardiff Blues, plus Premiership assignments against Wasps and Saracens.

The 27-year-old's year has been severely disrupted by disciplinary problems.

Earlier in 2011 he served an eight-week ban for pushing and verbally abusing an anti-doping official following a game against Bath on New Year's Day.

He was then sidelined for another three weeks for a punch on Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler in April.

Armitage also missed England's World Cup quarter-final defeat to France after a high tackle on Scotland's Chris Paterson in their Pool B decider.

Judge Jeff Blackett, the RFU's disciplinary chief, said the punishment could have been worse due to Armitage's poor record, but that his guilty plea and conduct at the hearing had been taken into account.

However, he warned that Armitage, who has 26 England caps, must heed the lessons of his various punishments.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Nov 9, 2011
Words:272
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