England hope for Brown return

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Published: Tuesday 24th February 2015 by The News Editor

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England retain hope that Mike Brown will participate in Sunday’s RBS 6 Nations showdown with Ireland after completing the latest stage in the return to play protocols for concussion.

Brown was knocked unconscious following an accidental collision with Andrea Masi in the 47-17 victory over Italy and is a doubt for the potential title decider at the Aviva Stadium.

The reigning player of the Championship suffered a recurrence of symptoms last week and was forced to restart the protocols, but completed Tuesday’s running session and will progress on to the next stage.

Alex Goode is on standby to deputise and Chris Pennell is also in the squad as full-back cover if Brown fails to prove his fitness by the deadline on Friday morning when the starting XV is announced.

“Mike completed the running base session on Tuesday, which is great news for us, and we shall see how he recovers from that overnight,” forwards coach Graham Rowntree said.

“We’ll take it day by day using the appropriate protocols. The only thing that matters here is his health.”

When asked if England would have any problem starting Brown if he is declared fit, Rowntree said: “No, absolutely not.

“As with every other concussion that’s happened, we tick all of those relevant boxes. We’ve been diligent.”

Second rows Geoff Parling and Courtney Lawes and flanker Tom Wood have recovered from injury and are available for selection, but given their lack of recent game time they are unlikely to figure against Ireland.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster trims his squad to 24 or 25 players on Tuesday evening when it will be revealed if Jack Nowell has replaced Jonny May on the left wing.

Sunday will see the Six Nations’ only two unbeaten teams collide in Dublin with the winner in pole position to claim the title.

“It’s always a challenge going over there. It took a very good performance from us to win there two years ago,” Rowntree said.

“I have so much respect for the Irish team, they’re very well coached and experienced.

They’re on a roll, we’re aware of that, and from what I hear they’re up for this game. And so are we.”

Published: Tuesday 24th February 2015 by The News Editor

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