June International Tours

Armitage dreaming of Lions tour

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England fullback Delon Armitage has been a real success under Martin Johnson and he says that playing for the British and Irish Lions is a dream.


The London Irish star has played his way into contention for the British and Irish Lions squad which will be announced in a months time and the 25-year-old says that he is acutely aware of the work he can do to improve.


Johnson sent his players away with a warning that a successful end to the Six Nations, with victories over France and Scotland which secured England a second-place finish, must only be considered the start of the journey.


Armitage now has a clear understanding of what it will take to become the best full-back in world rugby and in particular the level fitness after having his eyes opened to the physical demands of Test rugby.


“I would be lying if I didn’t say that the Lions is a dream and now it’s about going back to my club and keeping the form I have had in the last couple of weeks and, if I get the call, then brilliant,” said Armitage.


“If not then I need to keep trying to become a better player to be up there with the best full-backs in the world.


“There is a lot of work for me to do and I need to analyse my play and try and get more involved in the attack.


“We are all going back to our clubs and we know what is needed against the southern hemisphere and we know we weren’t fit enough.”


England slumped to eighth place in the Six nations but climbed their way back up to sixth place above Wales, France and Scotland.


“We have won consecutive games. Nobody is getting carried away with it.” England’s Martin Johnson told Ireland.


“There are lots of improvements we can make with players fitness-wise. We can improve there certainly if we want to compete with the best in the world.


“The guys are fit – but there’s being fit to play in the Premiership and Six Nations and fit to try to beat the best teams in the world.


“That’s what we need to get to. Some guys are there and some guys aren’t because they didn’t know what it takes. They have only come into international rugby this year.


“Now they do know what it’s all about. They need to be realistic and set their targets higher. If you want to get better, you have to raise the bar.”


England dropped to eighth in the world after losing away to Ireland but they responded in emphatic fashion with a 34-10 victory over France before sealing second place by regaining the Calcutta Cup from Scotland.


“You have to go through those ups and downs. We had to get better and we have started doing that,” said Johnson.


“Quite a few guys have taken big steps this year. It bodes well for the future.”


Armitage is one of those players and was was voted England’s player of the autumn and nominated as one of six players of the Six Nations.


“Delon has started every game for us. He came in and looked assured from the first training session he did,” said Johnson.


“He’s physically got what it takes and he seems to have it mentally as well.


“He’s got better and better and not rested on his laurels at any stage.”

 

Rugbyweek.com

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