Armitage to seize second chance
July 26, 2011
Delon Armitage's last appearance for England was in the 2010 November international against Samoa © Getty Images
England fullback Delon Armitage is determined to atone for his lapses in discipline last season and win a place in Martin Johnson's squad for the World Cup in New Zealand.
The London Irish fullback was banned for eight weeks at the start of 2011 in the wake of an altercation with an anti-doping official. And he was in trouble again before the end of the season after being found guilty of striking Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler, which led to a three-week ban and forced him to miss England's match against the Barbarians in May.
Armitage admits he feared he had blown his chances of going to the World Cup. But having been called up to the preliminary squad, he is now focused on making the most of his second chance.
"There were times last season when I sat there and thought that I had messed up everything," he told the Daily Telegraph. "I kicked off the season with the hope of playing in every game. But it didn't work out like that and at one stage, I honestly thought that my chance had slipped away.
"But now I've been given a second chance and I'm grateful for that. It has given me a new focus and I don't want to give the coaching team any reason to leave me behind. If it means me staying out for an extra 20 minutes at training, that's exactly what I will do."
The England players do not know when they will be told if they have made the final 30-man squad, but Armitage says they have already dubbed the impending date as "Apprentice Day".
"The boys are calling it Apprentice Day," he said. "It's the day when we will be hired or fired!
"Joking apart, the date keeps changing. Some of the guys thought it would be after the warm up game against Ireland and others were suggesting different dates altogether.
"To be honest, it doesn't matter when it is. It's about putting in maximum effort on each and every day. That's certainly the case at the moment. The guys are going all out to prove themselves. There are 45 players who are desperate not to miss out."
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