London Irish full back Delon Armitage was suspended from English rugby’s Saxons second-string squad after being arrested after an altercation in a nightclub.
The 28-year-old played for the Saxons team on Jan. 28, and then was arrested last night and released on bail, England Rugby said today in an e-mailed statement. He was suspended from the Elite Playing Squad pending the outcome of the police investigation, England Rugby said.
“We take issues surrounding the behavior of England players very seriously and as such have decided to suspend Delon from the Saxons EPS pending the result of the police inquiry,” England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said in the statement. “We will then consider if further action is appropriate. High standards of behaviour are required from England players on and off the field, and they also need to understand that they should not put themselves in a potentially vulnerable position or environment.”
Lancaster took over from Martin Johnson, who quit last year after his team had a disappointing World Cup on and off the field. The squad reached the quarterfinals in New Zealand, one step short of its goal, and made headlines during the tournament with a series of events involving players and staff.
Former captain Mike Tindall was dropped from the squad and fined by the RFU after being videoed in a Queenstown bar with an ex-girlfriend and misleading team officials. Tindall was later reinstated and had the fine reduced, but was left out of the squad for the Six Nations tournament.
At the time of the incident, Johnson defended his former teammate, who is married to the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips, and the other players for their night out.
Players Chris Ashton and James Haskell were also fined over an incident with a member of staff at their hotel, while Manu Tuilagi was fined by the RFU and detained by police after jumping off a ferry. Johnson defended the squad after team members went on a bungee-jumping trip in New Zealand.
Armitage has played 26 times for England, starting all 11 of the team’s international matches in the 2008-2009 season. He’s scored 44 points for his country.
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