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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Steffon and the Brothers Armitage

London Irish host Leicester at the Madjeski Stadium today as we get back into the Guinness Premiership while the Heineken Cup takes a break for a month or so. Flanker Steffon Armitage will be making his return.

Armitage, who plays at London Irish alongside his brother Delon, will be hoping to catch the eye of the England selectors ahead of the Autumn internationals. We've got this short feature to help you get to know the player, and the family a little better.

Steffon and Delon are the ninth pair of brothers to have played for England. They’ve come a long way to get there though, with quite an interesting background as they came from Trinidad & Tobago, by way of Nice in the South of France.

They both joined the Racing Club of Nice, but Delon was rejected by the France U16’s as they felt he was too tall and skinny. That blow meant he walked away from rugby for a year, taking up football while Steffon joined Grasse Olympique RFC.

Their father, John, now a South Devon-based tour operator, says that he felt Delon would be lost to rugby, but a phone call from England changed his life.

"He used to play mini-rugby for Richmond. Mike Hallasey from the club rang, inviting Delon to join them on an Under-17s tour of Australia.

"Delon went and never looked back. When we moved back to England, he was picked up by London Irish while Steffon went to Saracens.

"Eventually, both boys were at Irish and we were soon resigned to eight-hour round-trips to watch them play at Reading's Madejski Stadium."

It’s a great achievement for the family with such a diverse background.

"In my career I have played everywhere, partly because of people saying I was the wrong shape for one position or another. I started at scrum-half, then I went to centre, then full-back. I even played on the wing,” says versatile Steffon.

"I ended up openside because I wanted to get my hands on the ball, which was not happening at full-back. Anyway, Delon's full-back."

Do you think Steffon will ever become a regular Test player, or are their better, bigger players available for England to call upon?

Time: 03:49
Clip: Courtesy of ITV



  • Im a big fan of steffan but i cant stand delon. He reminds me too much of a footballer when he scores

    By Anonymous GrubbyFace, at October 24, 2009 2:19 pm  

  • A pity french selectors didn't give them a chance in youth selections. I don't know if it's such a big loss though

    By Anonymous rodofle, at October 24, 2009 3:14 pm  

  • Steffon is getting there. But he needs to transfer his GP form to the international stage where he has appeared anonymous. But that will come.

    For now Moody or Worsley I think will have the 7 shirt. Maybe until 2011. But with few good english 7's about, he looks the future in that position for England.

    By Anonymous Maximus, at October 24, 2009 3:44 pm  

  • how bout the Tuilagi's, Du Plessis..

    i'm quite impressed by steffon

    By Anonymous Cheis, at October 24, 2009 4:46 pm  

  • i dont know about steffon, he is too short, bit delon has demostrated how good he is, surely for the england squad

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 24, 2009 6:31 pm  

  • Steffon might not look big, but he packs an enormous amount of energy in his body.
    With Tom Rees out, Moody at this age must be either starting (when he really shows his form) or not in the squad at all. Otherwise it has to be Steffon wearing 7 for England in the AI

    By Blogger vinniechan, at October 24, 2009 7:04 pm  

  • steffon can be compared to some short but strong guys like Back or Smith, but is his workrate enough for international stage? I'm not quite sure that he can dominate really big and quick guys like Mark Chisholm, Pierre Spies or Richie McCaw.
    On my opinion, Worsley and Moody are on the starting positions. What about that forgotten superbe player that is Phil Dawson?

    By Anonymous Swissvinch, at October 24, 2009 7:07 pm  

  • steffon is good but not good enough to fight against the likes of mccaw burger spies elsom. but if his work rate is good as brussow he can be in england shirt. and for delon, he is amazing but still lacks of experience in international level.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 24, 2009 7:14 pm  

  • So since they came from France do they speak French? And why do they have English accents rather than French ones?

    And does anyone else think it's really cheesy that whenever they show clips of players in training, they're always smiling and laughing as if the whole thing is just a barrel of laughs, rather than hard work?

    By Anonymous Kearney for tests, at October 24, 2009 10:36 pm  

  • grubbyface - i met delon in covent garden before the England v Ireland game in last years six nations and he seemed like a good guy.

    By Blogger Edmund, at October 25, 2009 12:12 am  

  • Don't forget to mention the ndungane brothers, they're also twins with identical hair too.

    But guys, remember this name: Danwel Demas. The man is destined for great things.


    By Anonymous Cloke, at October 25, 2009 1:22 am  

  • Kearney for test,

    actually Delon does speak a perfect french without any english accent, i saw him on french tv during the 6N 2009 speaking about his passed life in France (they made a report about him after his perfect match against france, and he was telling that his high performance was kind of a revenge for him after being rejected by french selectors in the past). i don't know for stefan but i guess he speaks french too

    By Anonymous rodofle, at October 25, 2009 1:49 am  

  • Steffon or Worlsey, Joe on form at the moment but who knows for how long? Moody is awesome but I agree, he should either start or not be in the squad at all.

    Tuilagi is good too, v impressive, and Haskell is playing well in France. To be honest the back row is not what I worry about...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 25, 2009 2:14 am  

  • Steffon or Worlsey, Joe on form at the moment but who knows for how long? Moody is awesome but I agree, he should either start or not be in the squad at all.

    Tuilagi is good too, v impressive, and Haskell is playing well in France. To be honest the back row is not what I worry about...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 25, 2009 2:14 am  

  • I think everyone here is missing 1 thing and that is what is upstairs(mentally).I am a South African and i see this bloke playing for England with his mentality and he will be good.

    It's all to do with mental attitude!

    By Anonymous JuiCe, at October 25, 2009 6:39 am  

  • ummmmmm - neither of them are very good - seem like good guys though

    By Anonymous jamestheconvict, at October 25, 2009 9:10 am  

  • Too short, are you kidding me? That attitude almost kept one of rugby's alltime best 7's, Neil Back, outta an English jersey.

    By Anonymous Canadian Content, at October 25, 2009 9:55 am  

  • Kearney for Tests - they lived there for a few years.. I'd say they do speak french, but have been back in Eng since they were teenagers. Caribbean mom and English dad, I guess the accent of the dad, as well as their time in Eng, stuck.

    Talented family

    By Anonymous Dave, at October 25, 2009 12:20 pm  

  • well the Armitages spent their early life in Trinidad before moving to England. Then they went to France as teenagers before coming back to England. So the older ones, like Delon and Steffon, will speak fluent French and obviously all of them will speak English with an English accent because most of their growing up was done here.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 25, 2009 8:12 pm  

  • got to love those boys

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 25, 2009 10:53 pm  

  • Can someone explain to me why all professional rugby players seem to play golf in their spare time??

    OK sure it's non-physical and relaxing perhaps but I can't conceive a more mundane sport than bloody golf!!!

    By Anonymous Le Brack, at October 26, 2009 12:01 pm  

  • look at brussouw...he's small by test standards but plays incredibly well. steffon seems to be cut from the same mold.

    By Blogger Kevin, at October 26, 2009 4:03 pm  

  • my 2 younger brithers and I play for the same club. my youngets brother plays centre, 2nd row, or openside. the middle bro plays anywhere in the backs or either flanker, i play loose head. I CANT WAIT FOR ITV TO CALL!!!

    By Anonymous irelands caller no.1, at October 26, 2009 4:14 pm  

  • Joe Worsley has no business wearing number 7.

    By Blogger Kevin, at October 26, 2009 11:40 pm  

  • agree with the above statement

    By Anonymous Louis, at October 27, 2009 8:34 pm  

  • "Joe Worsely has no business wearing 7" - I did think he was about the most one dimensional player, and he doesn't even have skill and thinking of Moody.
    Then last 6 Nations, the England management showed that what a tactical weapon he could be: forget about big hits and turning the ball over, get low bring the guy first.
    He did this one thing so well that he even got a Lion's cap. So let's not write him off yet.

    By Blogger vinniechan, at October 28, 2009 1:12 pm  

  • neither of those brothers are that good,they would never get on the irish team,english rugby is terrible these days,the irish would win any day

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 19, 2010 1:56 pm  

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