Armitage deal to Bath falls through
October 14, 2014
Steffon Armitage will remain a Toulon player © Getty Images
Steffon Armitage's proposed deal to join Bath is off, according to head coach Mike Ford.
Rumours of Armitage's possible switch from Toulon to Bath started circulating on Monday and there were suggestions the flanker could swap the Top 14 for the Aviva Premiership this week. Regulations state players must be registered for the European Rugby Champions Cup by noon on Tuesday.
The deadline passed without any deal agreed between Toulon and Bath and despite Armitage's wishes to join the Premiership side, he will stay in the Top 14.
"Bruce and Mourad the Toulon president have been chatting away but inevitably it's about finances and we've not been able to cross the line," Ford told Sky Sports. "It's unfortunate, all England and Bath fans alike were excited and we were close to signing a great player which would have helped club and country.
"We tried our very, very best. Bruce came up with a lot of solutions for everybody involved but it has not happened, not for the want of trying. Obviously we are gutted but from a Bath Rugby point-of-view, we still need a player in the back-row and we will still be looking."
Ford played down hopes of the deal being resurrected in time for the second round of the Champions Cup. "If Steff plays for Toulon in the Champions Cup this weekend, I'd be stupid to sign him as he wouldn't be able to play for us. If that happens then it's dead in the water."
Saracens were also linked with Armitage but Ford said he was only keen on joining Bath. "I spoke to Steff at the weekend and he from his point-of-view he just wanted to come and play for Bath and have a shot at the World Cup.
"I feel a bit sorry for him that it hasn't happened but that's the way life works sometimes. It is what it is and there was no other club, from what I can see, talking to him."
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