Monday 23 April 2018

Brown's rise to English stardom proves stats don't lie

Brown: Impressive performance
Brown: Impressive performance

Alex Lowe

For the second match running, Mike Brown has been rated by England's RFU's own TryTracker analysis as being the England player who had the most influence.

The statistical-based system rated Brown's contribution in England's 12-6 victory over Ireland as being above those of captain Chris Robshaw, the official man of the match, and Geoff Parling.

Brown made ground with every carry, did not miss a tackle and his influence when England were down to 14 men with James Haskell in the sin-bin was close to match-winning.

The Harlequins full-back, employed on the left wing by his country, played a key role in winning two penalties which Owen Farrell converted to give England their match-winning lead.

Brown was singled out for praise by Stuart Lancaster, who brought the 27-year-old back into the fold after he had been consistently overlooked by Martin Johnson.

"It has been brilliant. I have had to work hard to get back in the squad and into the team and there is no way I am going to let this pass me by," Brown said.

"I am learning so much from Andy Farrell and Mike Catt. It was tough getting into a new role but I have done all right so far and I want to make myself the best wing I can be and stay in the position."

England came through what was, in many ways, the toughest test of their character since Lancaster took charge 13 months ago to sit top of the Six Nations table.

Brown continued: "As soon as Stuart got the job he made sure we had the right culture and the right players that would buy into that culture – really competitive characters, guys who maybe didn't have the opportunity before and want to prove a point.

"That is where the character of this team stems from. We have the belief in our own ability – a confidence but not arrogance.

"We always know we need to work hard on our game. I am really enjoying playing with these guys and I am learning so much. And it really helps when you are winning!"

England are now the only team who can win the Grand Slam but Lancaster's side are nothing if not grounded. They have two weeks to prepare for a France side under pressure following defeats to Italy and Wales. And that is all that concerns Brown.

"It is exciting but we won't get too ahead of ourselves," he said. "We have a couple of weeks of real hard graft for the France game.

"They are a wounded animal and wounded animals are dangerous."

Irish Independent

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