England are risking 'big mistake' over Armitage
April 27, 2014
Juan Smith believes Steffon Armitage deserves an England recall © Getty Images
Smith, who plays alongside Armitage in Toulon's back-row, believes England should relax their policy of not picking overseas-based players. Stuart Lancaster paid Armitage a visit this week to tell him the door was not nailed shut on an England recall but he is currently down the pecking order and would likely need his rivals for the No.7 shirt to succumb to injury for him to force his way back into the set-up.
For Smith, however, he believes Armitage must be in England's World Cup squad. "He's one of the most special guys I've ever played with," Smith said. "I would be surprised if England don't pick him for the World Cup next year.
"I think they must relax on that not picking overseas guys, if you look at Steffon Armitage he is one of the best openside flankers in the world at the moment. So not to take that guy to the World Cup, that would be a big mistake."
He added: "He's a short, bulky guy, and if he's on the ball you don't get him cleaned off that ball. And his all-round play, he can run, he can step, he can tackle, he can steal the ball, so I think he's arguably the worst nightmare for any team that play against Toulon.
"I must say they must realise it's a professional sport and it's good money for any player to come and play in France, especially when you look at the taxes for international players. If you look back at South Africa, [coach] Heyneke Meyer said he would pick the best player today."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
Sergio Aguero has revealed in his new autobiography that he loved his time alongside Mario Balotelli at Manchester City - and feels his fellow striker was "crazy" because of his insecurity
Rafael Nadal has announced he will have appendicitis surgery next month and will miss the World Tour Finals in London
Munster ended a tight European Champions Cup encounter on their terms as Saracens succumbed to a 14-3 defeat at Thomond Park
England wing Jonny May has signed a new contract with Aviva Premiership club Gloucester
USA Cycling says Lance Armstrong can't ride in a non-competitive race in America this weekend with several of his former US Postal Service team-mates