England suffer Armitage blow

England have suffered another blow ahead of next month's RBS 6 Nations after Delon Armitage was suspended for eight weeks. [more]

England suffer Armitage blow

England have suffered another blow ahead of next month’s RBS 6 Nations after Delon Armitage was suspended for eight weeks.

The London Irish full back has been banned up to and including March 16 following an incident involving a doping control officer from the UK Anti-Doping Agency.

Armitage was found guilty of pushing and using threatening and/or abusive and obscene language towards the official after his club’s defeat to Bath at the Madejski Stadium on New Year’s Day.

The 27-year-old pleaded not guilty to pushing the official and guilty to using threatening and/or abusive and obscene language, with the Rugby Football Union suspending him for conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Game.

"His behaviour was completely unacceptable," said Judge Jeff Blackett, the chair of the disciplinary panel.

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"It brought discredit on himself and his club and failed to uphold one of the core values of the game – respect.

"Doping control officers should expect to carry out their important work without fear of abuse and be treated with respect at all times.

"We took into account that it was not a violent push but more of a brush past and that was accepted by the doping control officer.

"We took the offences as a whole and, in line with the sanctions for abuse of match officials, we decided that a low end entry point of 12 weeks was appropriate. This was reduced to eight weeks on account of his remorse, his letter of apology to the doping control officer and his relatively good record."

The suspension is more bad news for England team manager Martin Johnson who lost skipper Lewis Moody to injury earlier this week having already seen Tom Croft and Courtney Lawes sidelined in the lead up to the tournament.

The length of the ban rules Armitage out of contention until England’s final RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland in Dublin on March 19.

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