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Armitage to join Biarritz

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Former England international Steffon Armitage to join Biarritz

After former Toulon and Pau back rower Steffon Armitage was found guilty of sexual assault last month, San Diego Legion of Major League Rugby announced that they were releasing the 34-year-old.

Armitage had agreed to join the US franchise, although in the wake of his criminal conviction, the club stated that the player’s conduct was not reflective of the Legion and that the team would be going in a different direction for the 2020 season.

The back rower was given a six-month suspended sentence and a fine of €5,000 after pleading guilty to the charges at the Pau Criminal Court, which date back to 2018.

Despite San Diego Legion deciding to move on from Armitage, the former England international has been given another opportunity to play professionally, with Biarritz in the Pro D2 securing his signing.

The former giants of European rugby have been playing in the second tier of the French league since 2014, as they have struggled to live financially with the big-spending clubs in the Top 14. They are currently 7th in the Pro D2, having picked up three wins from their opening six games of the season.

Armitage will be competing with the likes of Georgian starlet Tornike Jalagonia and former Bath stalwart Leroy Houston in the Biarritz back row, with the club currently just five points behind Grenoble at the summit of the table.

During his time at Toulon, Armitage was considered one of the best back rows in world rugby and his exclusion from England’s 2015 Rugby World Cup squad, due to the RFU’s policy of not selecting foreign-based players, was criticised heavily by fans and the media alike. He had been linked with a return to England after that Rugby World Cup, although the former Saracens academy product ended up signing a contract with Pau and has not added to the five England caps he won whilst at London Irish between 2006 and 2011.

Watch: Gregor Townsend speaks to the press after Scotland defeated Russia on Wednesday

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Former England international Steffon Armitage to join Biarritz