England's RBS 6 Nations star Delon Armitage returns to club rugby with a clear understanding of what it will take to become the best full-back in the world.
The London Irish star has become one of the big success stories of Martin Johnson’s new regime, playing in nine consecutive Tests, and he is a major contender for British & Irish Lions selection in the forthcoming tour to South Africa.
Armitage is not short of motivation. The Lions squad is announced in a month’s time and the 25-year-old is acutely aware of the work he can do to improve, particularly in the fitness stakes after having his eyes opened to the physical demands of Test rugby.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say that the Lions is a dream and now it’s about going back to my club and keeping the form I have had in the last couple of weeks and, if I get the call, then brilliant,” said Armitage.
“If not then I need to keep trying to become a better player to be up there with the best full-backs in the world.
“There is a lot of work for me to do and I need to analyse my play and try and get more involved in the attack.”
Armitage scored tries in three consecutive matches against Wales, Ireland and France - and all three demonstrated his searing pace.
But he believes physical fitness will be more important when it comes to facing the Springboks and other powerful South African opposition.
“We are all going back to our clubs and we know what is needed against the southern hemisphere and we know we weren’t fit enough,” Armitage added.