Thursday 14 December 2017

'I didn't take it well' - Mike Brown not happy with Warren Gatland's decision to leave him out of Lions squad newsdesk

England fullback Mike Brown has said that he did not take his omission from last month's Lions squad well, and that he felt that he had played well enough over the last two seasons to warrant selection for this summer's British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.

Brown started all five of England's games in the Six Nations as the Red Rose successfully defended their 2016 championship with four wins from five games.

The Harlequins fullback made twice as many metres as Lions and Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny during the tournament, and beat nearly four times as many defenders, however, the Toulon marksman was preferred to Brown alongside 2017 Six Nations Player of the tournament Stuart Hogg.

“I didn’t take it well," Brown told The Rugby Paper.

"I was gutted. I feel I’ve played really well from 2015 onwards so it was really disappointing to get the call, but you can’t let one man’s decision define you.

“It’s really disappointing for guys like myself, James Haskell and Dylan Hartley because we probably won’t get another opportunity. I’ve had no feedback about being on standby either, which is also disappointing, so I’m not going to keep up false hopes.

“Instead I’ll reset my goals and concentrate fully on England and the excitement of going on a tough Argentina tour.”

Meanwhile Brown's England teammate Ben Youngs is also set to miss the tour after withdrawing from Gatland's squad last week citing family reasons.

The wife of Youngs' brother Tom, who was selected on the 2013 Lions tour of Australia, is suffering from terminal cancer, prompting the Leicester Tigers scrum-half to withdraw from the tour.

"We are a very close family and, as I am sure everyone can respect, time is now precious together," Youngs said.

"The most important thing for me at this difficult time is to be able to offer as much support as I can to Tom and his family in the remaining time we all have together."

Gatland was informed of the decision this week. Both Youngs brothers will continue to play in Leicester's season-ending play-off campaign.

"It is a great honour to be selected as a member of the Lions squad," Youngs said.

"I would like to thank Warren Gatland, the staff and the other players for their understanding in this situation. "I wish them well and, like all rugby supporters in British and Ireland, hope they have a successful tour."

Youngs was replaced in the squad by Gloucester and Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw.

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