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No deal for Armitage to return to England

October 16, 2014

Flanker Steffon Armitage will remain at Toulon after Bath couldn’t agree on financial terms with the Top 14 champion to bring the European club rugby player of the year back to England.

Bath coach Mike Ford said the deal was dead in an interview with BBC Radio on Thursday.

Armitage hoped for a transfer to Bath to attempt to break into England’s squad for the Rugby World Cup next year, but breaking his three-year contract at Toulon proved harder.

Bath’s request for financial help from the English Rugby Union was turned down. England won’t pick players overseas unless under special circumstances. Armitage last played for England in 2010.

“We tried our best to get him but we just failed to cross the line and couldn’t agree (on) the finances with Toulon,” Ford said.

Bath needed a deal done by this weekend, when the European Rugby Champions Cup begins. If Armitage played, he would become cup-tied to Toulon. He is in the squad to play Scarlets on Sunday.

Toulon coach Bernard Laporte said they were prepared to release Armitage on a six-month loan if he received certainty of playing in the World Cup in England, but no guarantee was given.

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