Brown out for revenge in Cardiff


Published: Tuesday 3rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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Mike Brown is determined to avenge one of the darkest days of his career when England visit the Millennium Stadium for Friday night’s RBS 6 Nations opener against Wales.

Two years ago Stuart Lancaster’s men travelled to Cardiff knowing a first Grand Slam in 10 years was just 80 minutes away, only to be mauled 30-3 in a harrowing afternoon for the Red Rose.

Brown started on the wing and was powerless to prevent a 9-3 half-time deficit descending into a record defeat in the fixture. Wales were crowned champions while England faced calls to rebuild their team.

As one of the likely five survivors from that match, Brown is motivated by his desire for retribution.

“That was one of the lowest experiences of my rugby career and it’s in the back of the mind,” said Brown, who will be restored to his more accustomed position at full-back when the team is announced on Wednesday morning.

“With everything that was riding on the game, it was obviously massively disappointing to lose in the way we did.

“It was a closer game than most people will have you believe, we just didn’t take our chances on the day and ended up doing not too well.

“It was a game that could have swung in our direction because there were momentum shifts, but then we chased the game and it got away from us.”

Lancaster’s inexperienced team were still finding their feet in the Test arena as they unravelled at a hostile Millennium Stadium, over-awed by the occasion and the ferocity of the Welsh players and support.

Brown admires the noise and passion generated by the Welsh fans and hopes that on this occasion England will be less affected by the reception awaiting them in Cardiff in what will be a dress rehearsal for their World Cup group showdown on September 26.

“I enjoy atmospheres like that. As a player you want to be involved in these types of experiences and go to places like Cardiff,” the Harlequins back said.

“In terms of away fixtures, the atmosphere there is probably the best you’ll experience as a rugby player. It was incredible two years ago.

“I can’t speak for anyone else in the team and how they reacted to the atmosphere that day, but I enjoyed the occasion. I just didn’t enjoy losing.

“Hopefully we’ll be a lot better equipped to deal with a match in Cardiff. It’s been a long time since that fixture and we’ve moved on since then, individually and collectively.

“You learn from these experiences and we’ve grown as a team, but we’ll find out Friday.”

Up against England’s three-quarter line will be a quartet of Test British and Irish Lions in Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies, George North and Alex Cuthbert.

Wales’ centres and wings are comfortably bigger than the visitors’ with Roberts in particularly good form, but Brown insists they have more weapons in their arsenal than power alone.

“Most of them are Lions players, so they’re world class. They’re big boys and they use that strength very well,” he said.

“But that’s not to say they don’t have the skill set to run decoy lines. If Jamie Roberts is running hard, there’s no reason why they can’t also exploit you elsewhere.

“We know strength is one of their assets, but they are also good enough players to test you in other areas. We need to be on our toes.”

Ireland have become favourites to win the 2015 Six Nations after their odds were shortened as a result of the injury crisis that has decimated England, who are rated second to claim a first title under Lancaster.

“This will probably be the tightest Six Nations there has ever been. Every game will be a massive Test and a massive occasion,” Brown said.

“Wales v England is one of the biggest fixtures and we’re looking forward to getting started.”

Published: Tuesday 3rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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