Rugby World Cup: I’m still England’s best full-back – Mike Brown

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By Chris Jones
BBC rugby union correspondent
Mike Brown says that it was”heartbreaking” to miss out on England’s Rugby World Cup squad and thinks he is still the nation’s best full-back.
The 34-year-old, who won the last of the 72 caps was involved in pre-World Cup training camps but wasn’t appointed in Eddie Jones’ 31-man group.
“I tried to put everything that I had on the coaching field, but it wasn’t sufficient in the long run,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“That is the essence of team sport and choice – it is 1 man’s view.”
Brown played for England but he believes he remains capable of performing at the highest degree.
“I feel as though I’m the very best English full-back, also that I think I revealed that last season,” he said.
“I still think my game is evolving and changing all the time, and my body feels good.
“All I could do is show about the area the player I’m and the character that I am. That is what I did last year [to get Harlequins], therefore I shall just keep going.”
Brown was also involved during a group social on a camp in Treviso with an altercation with centre Ben Te’o, but is loath to go .
Though head coach Jones has yet to clarify whether the incident had any bearing on their axing both Te’o and Brown were dropped from the squad afterwards.
“I don’t feel comfortable moving into specifics once the guys around are getting ready for a massive championship,” Brown explained.
“People who are near me – my family and friends, the people who really matter – understand what happened and that’s the most crucial thing for me.
“There is going to be a time when I’ll speak about what happened. But in the instant I have attempted to adhere to the team ethos.
“It’s not for me personally to take attention away [from England’s World Cup preparations] and speak about anything else that went on.”
Brown is still unlikely to play for England again, but reflects fondly about an global career’s highs and lows.
“It’s incredible. For any rugby player it’s the best job on earth,” he explained.
“We have paid incredibly well and we all get to encounter such awesome things doing this job.
“But what comes with this is the examination as well as the frustration of working really hard and not getting chosen for something. But that’s the nature of it.”
Brown also says that he has no regrets about anything that went on insisting that he did all he could to get selection for the showpiece at Japan.
“I went into pre-season peaks at the very best shape I’ve ever been in, and trained each second of each moment. I don’t have any regrets whatsoever about the last calendar year,” he added.
“On the plus side it has given me some wonderful memories and quality time with my family, having to spend more time with my son and my wife, that I haven’t managed to do over the last eight decades.
“You must look at those positives. I have also come to be with my Quins team-mates, that is tough when you are currently searching for England to do.
“I would like to have been connected in England, however I must go about the [pre-season bonding] trip to Ibiza with the Quins guys, and also be a part of an environment which has grown really powerful.”
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