Six Nations

RWC anger fuels England's Brown

2016-02-24 20:28
Mike Brown (AFP)

London - Mike Brown is still smarting from England's World Cup failure ahead of their return to Twickenham for the first time since the tournament.

England became the first host nation to be dumped out of the World Cup at the initial group stage after a 33-13 defeat by eventual finalists Australia followed hot on the heels of an agonising Twickenham loss to Wales.

England, who since the World Cup have appointed a new coach in Australian Eddie Jones and given the captaincy to Dylan Hartley, will be back at Twickenham for the first time since their heavy defeat by the Wallabies when they face Ireland in the Six Nations on Saturday.

"I will always have it there at the back of my mind to motivate me even more," Harlequins fullback Brown, who played in both of those World Cup reverses, told BBC Radio of the impact of the Australia defeat.

"Every single day, every time I am training, every time I'm playing, every time I'm lucky enough to pull on a white jersey."

Chris Robshaw, a team-mate of Brown at London club Harlequins, was axed as England captain by Jones after the back-row forward's leadership skills came under fire during the World Cup.

But amid speculation such a move could spell the end of his Test career, Robshaw has in fact been retained in the England team by Jones, albeit in what the former Australia and Japan coach believes is his more natural position of blindside rather than openside flanker.

Playing on in a Test side after losing the captaincy is something Australia's James Horwill, now also at Harlequins, knows all about.

The former Wallaby lock continued his international career for two more years after being stripped of leadership duties in 2013.

"I think Chris Robshaw became the fall guy for England," Horwill said of the reaction to the team's poor World Cup showing.

"Rightly or wrongly that's what the captain has to handle. You have to say, 'It's on me' if you lose.

"That's what Chris has done and you do that on behalf of the team.

"Speaking to other guys they certainly haven't seen things that way and in the end that's the most important thing."

England have won their first two matches under Jones after wins over Italy and Scotland and they head into this week's round of matches top of the Six Nations table, leading France on points difference.

But their title credentials are set to face a sterner test against defending champions Ireland and Horwill is expecting another full-on display from Robshaw.

"Chris works very hard, tackles well, carries a lot and goes forward, and does the hard things that others don't want to," said Horwill.

He added: "I think you've got to learn as you go, through your career. I'm still learning now and I know Chris will be too. He definitely will have learnt from the World Cup and he will be better for it.

"All Chris has to worry about now is what he does. As captain you spend a lot of time thinking about everyone else, and if you're not careful you can put yourself second.

"Now Chris can just worry about himself, and playing as well as he can for England. And that could make a difference."

Read more on:    england  |  six nations  |  mike brown  |  rugby

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