England
Steffon Armitage 'wouldn't say no' to England recall under Eddie Jones
PA Sport
December 13, 2015
Steffon Armitage produced a powerful performance against Leinster. © Franck Pennant/AFP/Getty Images

Steffon Armitage "wouldn't say no" if he gets a call from England coach Eddie Jones to reignite his international career, but he insists his immediate aim is to continue performing well for Toulon.

Armitage was named European Player of the Year in 2014 but he could not force his way into Stuart Lancaster's World Cup squad due to England's policy of not selecting overseas-based stars.

The 30-year-old flanker gave another reminder of his immense talent on Sunday with a starring role in Toulon's 24-9 European Rugby Champions Cup win over Leinster, scoring two tries and helping his side force nine turnover penalties.

Jones, who replaced Lancaster after England's miserable World Cup campaign, has said he is happy to adhere to England's rule of picking only players who play in the Aviva Premiership but Armitage has not given up hope of adding to his five caps in the future.

"I wouldn't say no, but my first thing is to keep playing well for Toulon and keep my place here," Armitage said after being asked about playing for his country again.

"That's the only way I am going to get anywhere at international level -- keep my head down and keep pushing. Who knows what is going to happen in the future?"

Reigning champions Toulon extended their unbeaten run at home in the top tier of European rugby to 16 games as they ground out a victory which made it three successive defeats for Leinster. The two teams will meet again at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

"We had something to prove after our first game and we wanted to show that we still have got the ambition to go further and to win it four times. This is just a stepping stone and hopefully we can come out stronger next week again," Armitage added.

"There is a lot we messed up in the game and a lot we can improve on. It was a tense week coming into this game especially after getting zero points at Wasps. I have to thank all the forwards for my tries - it is eight guys together and we all worked really hard for those tries."

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen was unhappy to see his side have three players sent to the sin-bin by World Cup final referee Nigel Owens.

They also conceded 15 penalties, nine of them at the break down as they were effectively knocked out of the running for a quarter-final place in Pool Five.

"We hope to have close to 45,000 fans watching us at the Aviva Stadium and we want to put in a performance that we can be proud of. A lot of breakdown calls went against us and we will have to work on that interpretation," Cullen said.

© PA Sport

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