Steffon Armitage: Toulon owner urges England to pick forward

Steffon Armitage
Steffon Armitage has scored four tries in this year's European Champions Cup
European Rugby Champions Cup final
Venue: Twickenham Date: 2 May Kick-off: 17:00 BST Coverage: Live text coverage on BBC Sport website and updates on BBC Radio 5 live

Steffon Armitage is one of the best players in the world and should be in England's World Cup plans, says Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal.

Back-rower Armitage, 29, has five caps for England, but has not been picked since his move to France in 2011.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster can select overseas players in "exceptional circumstances", but has yet to do so.

"If England want to win the World Cup, to have Steffon Armitage in the team is a good idea," said Boudjellal.

"I think Steffon Armitage is one of the best players in the world. He is English and even when you live outside, you're still English.

"He has an English passport. You don't change your nationality when you change your country."

Steffon Armitage
Steffon Armitage, celebrating with Craig Burden, won a second consecutive European Cup with Toulon last season

Trinidad-born Armitage, who can play at flanker or number eight, is renowned for his ability to win turnovers and was European Player of the Year in 2013-14.

And he will attempt to help Toulon win a third successive European Champions Cup when he faces Clermont, and their English-qualified full-back Nick Abendanon, at Twickenham on Saturday.

"This is a great chance for him to prove he should be playing for England, and Nick Abendanon too," said Boudjellal, speaking less than five months before the start of the World Cup.

"I think Steffon knows that when he plays it's the first game of the World Cup for him."

Two-time England cap Abendanon, 28, left Bath to join Clermont in the summer, and is also being spoken about as a potential World Cup call-up.

"I know there's been a lot of talk about it," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"At the end of the day it's got nothing to do with how well me and Steff play on Saturday.

"We've both done our part in our teams to get ourselves into this position in the first place and Stuart Lancaster is going to be the only one that can make that decision."

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