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VIDEO – Hard work shown in my form says Armitage

08 September 2011

  • World Cup start is dream come true for Delon Armitage
  • London Irish man says hard work through pre season is reaping rewards

Delon Armitage will start on England’s left wing for their Rugby World Cup 2011 opener against Argentina and he puts his return to form down to adopting the right mentality and working hard through England’s gruelling 12-week pre season schedule.

England back Delon Armitage fields a high ball during training

Photo: Getty Images

The London Irish man appeared in all three warm-up fixtures and was one of England’s standout performers, looking sharp and accurate against Wales and scoring the crucial second try in the victory over Ireland in Dublin.

And although Mark Cueto’s potential participation on Saturday has been curtailed with a back complaint, Team Manager Martin Johnson was quite clear that it was an easy decision and Armitage has been selected on merit.

Armitage, who will win his 23rd cap against the Pumas in Dunedin, approached the pre season in stages, which allowed him to focus and work hard on the task immediately in front of him.

“I don’t think it’s actually sunk in yet,” said the 27-year-old, who will play his first Rugby World Cup match.

“The manager spoke to me and said my starting place is because of the way I’ve been playing in the warm up games. It shows that hard work does pay off as I worked really hard during the off season to try and get into the 45-man squad and then the 30 to come over to New Zealand.

London Irish full back Delon Armitage, who starts on the left wing for England against Argentina at Rugby World Cup 2011

Photo: Getty Images

“I was hoping to make the match day 22 but to get the opportunity to start in a world cup is a dream come true.”

Armitage has enjoyed success against Argentina in the past, scoring a brace from full back in a 37-15 victory at Old Trafford in June 2009.

The Trinidad-born star normally plays at No.15 but says he will be confident on the wing given the amount of time he spends barking positional advice when he’s stationed at full back.

Explaining how he sees the back three as a unit and what he expects from Argentina, Armitage added: “I’ve played on the wing a few times for London Irish, I’m comfortable out there because for me the back three is a unit, I see it as all the same kind of position.

“We all cover each other’s backs in defence and in attack we’re all there together.

England's Delon Armitage celebrates with Manu Tuilagi

Photo: Getty Images

“Having played full back a lot I’m always shouting at wingers telling them where to go – so I’d like to think I’ll know which positions to take up on the field to help Ben out and I think it will work quite well with us three.

“I think it’s going to be a physical game, they’ve got a great defence, their forward are really strong in both attack and defence. Hopefully we can match them with that physicality and then if we can get the ball in some space hopefully we can show what we can do in attack as well.

“We want a lot of ball out wide so we can express ourselves and hopefully get on the right side of the result.”