Former England full-back Delon Armitage has agreed to try his hand at grassroots level coaching, the 36-year-old linking up with English National 1 club Chinnor a year after he called time on his playing career following a seven-year stint in France that started at serial trophy winners Toulon.

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Armitage won 26 England caps under Martin Johnson, featuring in the 2011 World Cup before deciding to move away from London Irish and linking up with French giants Toulon. He was part of their famed European Cup three-in-a-row team and was also a Top 14 title winner before moving on to up-and-coming Lyon for three seasons.

Now back in England in retirement, Armitage has rekindled his old friendship with Richard Thorpe, a former London Irish teammate who is now director of rugby at Chinnor.

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Armitage told the Chinnor club’s website: “I’m delighted to be joining. This is a great opportunity for me to develop as a coach while I’m back here in England.

“This is a brilliant club with big ambitions and it’s fantastic to be a part of the journey at Kingsey Road. It’s also great to link up again with Richard Thorpe and I look forward to helping the senior squad develop and move forward.”

Delighted to have convinced Armitage to come on board as back coach, Thorpe added: “Delon and I have known each other for more than 20 years. In that time, we have shared huge victories on-field as well as the inevitable lows of rugby.

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“As we have both now transitioned out of full-time professional rugby, I’m delighted to join forces with him once again. While Delon will still have responsibilities and positions within France, while he is back in England, it will be Chinnor where he furthers his coaching development.

“Delon will have license to impose his own creative flair onto our backline this season as our backs coach. With all of Delon’s experience as a player at our disposal, I’m sure it will be far more than just the French calls on-field that will get Kingsey Road excited.

“While it is the case that all sport from elite through to semi-professional is needing to reset the cost base in respect of player remuneration, we are intent at Chinnor to concentrate on creating a centre of excellence in respect of player welfare and enabling aspiring players to reach their full potential both on and off the pitch. Delon’s appointment means that we are now nearly there with creating a first-class coaching structure.”

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