Brown sees Ireland clash as perfect chance to reclaim England spot

Brown sees Ireland clash as perfect chance to reclaim England spot

Mike Brown views facing down Ireland’s aerial onslaught in Dublin as the perfect way to reclaim his England place.

The nation’s most capped full-back has not worn the number 15 jersey for the last nine Tests due to Eddie Jones’ decision to experiment with Anthony Watson and Elliot Daly.

Brown, who played wing during last summer’s tour to South Africa, was jettisoned completely for the autumn series but has been included in a 35-man training squad for the Aviva Stadium clash.

England head coach Eddie Jones rates Mike Brown as one of the best defensive full-backs (Andrew Matthews/PA)
England head coach Eddie Jones rates Mike Brown as one of the best defensive full-backs (Andrew Matthews/PA)

And Jones has opened the door for the 33-year-old to be involved in the Guinness Six Nations opener knowing his tenacity and reliability under the high ball could be invaluable against Joe Schmidt’s men.

“Mike is a great defensive full-back and he has to be ready to go when his opportunity comes. That might be Saturday week,” Jones said.

With Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray the masterminds of Ireland’s unrivalled kicking game, Brown views Ireland as the ultimate challenge for a player in his position.

“Who wouldn’t relish playing in Dublin? As a full-back you would relish that because Ireland are a team that pride themselves on their kicking game,” Brown said.

Brown is keen to play for England against Ireland in Dublin (Steven Paston/PA)
Brown is keen to play for England against Ireland in Dublin (Steven Paston/PA)

“They’ve got two of the best in the business if Murray’s playing as well. That’s one of Ireland’s strengths – they strangle teams with their kicking game.

“It seems like all the best teams are using the aerial game. New Zealand kick more than any other team in terms of attacking kicks and contestable kicks.

“The aerial game is massively important. As a back three player against Ireland, you really want to be involved. It’s a massive game.

“Any England player would want to be involved in that. But selection is Eddie’s job, it’s not mine.

“Eddie has messaged me since the autumn with little bits of feedback, which he does all the time. My job is to go away and deal with it the best way I can.”

- Press Association

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