Planet Rugby

Brown ready to take on the world

11th January 2013 10:50

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Mike Brown England

Confident: Mike Brown

Harlequins full-back Mike Brown says that England will be full of confidence from their win over New Zealand ahead of the Six Nations.

Speaking exclusively to Planet Rugby, Brown admits he has had little time to reflect on that remarkable day at Twickenham, with the surprise victory by Stuart Lancaster's side meaning that England's stock has risen over the last few months.

"It was an unbelievable experience," said Brown.

"We felt we had a point to prove after the disappointing losses in the previous two weeks. Having watched England games against New Zealand in the past, it was a dream come true.

"I was straight back into it with Harlequins and had a game a few days later, so I haven't had a lot of time to think about it, but it will be one of those memories when you look back on your career that I'll remember very fondly."

Brown was deployed as a left winger rather in his familiar role of full-back in the November Internationals, but admits he is happy to play out of position if it means getting into the side.

"I'm grateful to get the chance to play on the wing," added Brown.

"I was desperate to get a start at Twickenham and I think I repaid Stuart's [Lancaster] faith in me in those two games against probably the two best teams in the world. I was ecstatic to get that chance and hopefully I'll get a few more.

"Obviously I want to play my preferred position of full-back, but if wing gets me on the pitch it's a similar skill set in this day and age so it's not too hard to adapt. Andy Farrell has been talking me through it and it seems to be going alright."

The victory over the world champions has seen England tipped for a second Six Nations title in three years over the next two months, but Brown insists that the weight of expectation that has come from defeating the All Blacks will not affect England's preparations.

"I don't think so. We put enough pressure on ourselves as a squad to achieve and do bigger things," stated Brown.

"There will be a lot of confidence around the squad - if we can do it against the world champions there is no reason why we can't do it against any team.

"Scotland is going to be a massive game with a lot of history so we're looking forward to it."

Brown returns to action with Harlequins this weekend after taking a well-earned rest for the victory over London Welsh last weekend in the Aviva Premiership.

"I've had a few niggles so Conor [O'Shea] was good enough to give me a few days off," he explained.

"We have a great squad at Quins and Ollie Lindsay-Hague came in and played really well. I hate missing training or games but I needed the break and I'm now ready for this weekend."

His return coincides with the final rounds of this season's Heineken Cup group stage, with Harlequins sitting on 19 points and having scored more points than any other side in the competition as they close in on a home quarter-final.

This time last year the English champions fell short of progressing to the knockout stages despite winning away against Toulouse.

Connacht were the side to send Harlequins crashing out of the tournament and they travel to The Stoop on Saturday, as Brown and his side look to put the disappointment of last season's exit behind them.

"Last season we let ourselves down in the final group games so we know what Connacht will offer," said Brown.

"They have killed off our Heineken Cup hopes before and create a lot of problems and are developing really well.

"We've had two professional wins over Zebre and they worked us hard and it's going to be a tough two weeks ahead. Everyone has been knocking us a bit saying that it's an easy group, but you've still got to do a job."

by Ben Coles

@bencoles_

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