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Armitage hopeful club and country can strike agreement to make him available.

STEFFON ARMITAGE is hopeful the RFU and Toulon can negotiate a situation that makes him available to play for England again.

The Toulon flanker was in Paris last night to receive the prestigious Midi Olympique 'Oscar' for the best overseas player in the French Top 14.

But Armitage does not feature in Stuart Lancaster's plans because he would not be available for England training camps or Test matches outside of the international window.

Armitage would not be available, for example, to play for England against New Zealand on December 1 without special dispensation from Toulon.

"I am always hoping and I will keep hoping in the future that I do get another chance with England," Armitage said.

"I hope there is a possibility there can be some negotiation (between England and Toulon) further down the line.

"I will do anything to play again for England. At the moment Toulon's where everything lies."

Asked if he would like England to try to come to arrangement with Toulon, Armitage added: "100% yes. It is a big honour to put on the red rose."

Armitage won the last of his five caps off the bench against Italy in 2010. He had fallen out of favour with England's coach Martin Johnson when he moved from London Irish to Toulon 18 months ago.

Armitage felt he had gone stale after 150 games for the Exiles. He needed to kick-start his career, to recapture the hunger that first propelled him into the England set-up.

The move to the south of France, near where he played his schoolboy rugby with Nice, has done that.

Armitage has been a shining light in a star-studded Toulon squad, to such an extent that team team-mate Jonny Wilkinson has been championing his England credentials.

"If Jonny reckons I should be (in the England team) then it makes me push even harder because I don't want to let Jonny down. Jonny is one of my heroes," he said.

"I knew what the risk was coming to France but I thought it would help my career more. I thought I needed that extra boost, to get back that feeling of always wanting more.

"Toulon have players like Joe Van Niekerk and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, a lot of international players.

"I knew it was going to be hard but maybe because of them I am playing better.

"I have matured a lot in the game. In the past I didn't always make the right decisions on the pitch. I am learning to be in the right place at the right time."

CAPTION(S):

Head coach Stuart Lancaster

Toulon ace Steffon Armitage
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Nov 20, 2012
Words:438
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