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High-flying brothers kept Armitage going at London Irish

Guy Armitage is free of an injury-plagued campaign last season but the London Irish youngster admits watching his brothers dominate Europe at least offered some respite.

Armitage, who returned to the Exiles in 2012 after a brief jaunt to join siblings Delon and Steffon in Toulon, made his first senior appearance of the season last weekend.

That ended in a narrow LV= Cup defeat to Leicester Tigers but the 22-year-old centre did at least cross the whitewash late on to make things interesting.

That try was just a bonus, insists Armitage, after a season in which injuries reduced him to just four Aviva Premiership Rugby appearances.

However, watching his brothers land a domestic and European double – and Steffon claim the European Player of the Year award – was of some comfort during a depressing campaign.

“It did give me something else to focus on,” recalled Armitage. “When you are watching your family playing, it does make stuff a lot easier and it made for a pretty good end to the season. It gave me something to smile about.

“They have had their dark moments themselves and they were just giving me words of encouragement and seeing how I was going each week. They are always behind me, giving me words of advice.”

Next up for Irish and Armitage is an LV= Cup trip to Wasps on Sunday as he looks to work his way back into contention for league and European appearances.

With the likes of Shane Geraghty, Eamonn Sheridan and Fergus Mulchrone dominating the centres at the Madejski Stadium this season it will be no easy feat but he is happy to wait patiently.

And now the future is looking brighter for London Irish – with a new state-of-the-art training centre and a promising start to the campaign – optimism is coursing through his veins.

“I have just been so stop-start in the past year that I am just looking to get a run of games together at the moment and two in two will be a good start for me,” added Armitage. “If I can keep going and get a win, then that would be great.

“I obviously had to wait for my opportunity with the boys performing ahead of me and just get into the run of things. I came back from an injury last season and ended up doing the cartilage in my knee, putting me out until pre-season this year.

“It was a frustrating season but the club is going in a much better direction now so it is easier for me to focus on my rugby.”

For your definitive guide to the LV= Cup click here

Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets

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