Steffon Armitage named ERC European Player of the Year

Steffon Armitage

Steffon Armitage has been named ERC European Player of the Year on the same day he was left out of the initial 30-man England squad to tour New Zealand.

Armitage, 28, capped a fine season by winning the match of the match award as Toulon retained the Heineken Cup with a 23-6 win over Saracens on Saturday.

But England do not select foreign-based players, partly because they are unable to attend all training camps.

"It is not my rule but I agree with it," head coach Stuart Lancaster said.

"It is important for our best players to play in England. I would support it as a national coach."

Back rower Armitage said winning the award was "a great honour".

He added: "With us winning another Heineken Cup as well, everything has come together at the right time."

Toulon team-mate Jonny Wilkinson, who captained the French side to success at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, won last year's award.

"To follow in the footsteps of Jonny Wilkinson as a winner is really special," said Armitage.

"There are a lot of big names at Toulon, but we're like one big family. Without my team-mates, this award wouldn't have been possible."