- Mike Brown reflects on first competitive win in Ireland in 10 years
- Attributes win to culture established by Lancaster
Photo: Getty Images
England star Mike Brown has pinpointed Stuart Lancaster’s influence as a crucial factor in the side’s win over Ireland on Sunday, attributing the team’s passionate defensive display to the culture instilled within the squad.
Lancaster’s men won an attritional affair at the Aviva Stadium, beating Ireland 12-6 thanks to four penalties from the boot of fly half Owen Farrell. It was the first time England had won a competitive fixtures on Irish soil since 2003.
Brown played a full 80 minutes on the wing, putting in another composed performance. During the QBE Internationals and against Scotland in the opening RBS 6 Nations match, the Harlequins ace showed his talents at beating defenders and getting over the gain line as well as immense skill under the high ball.
At the Aviva Stadium Brown ran 76 metres with the ball in hand, making it over the gain line with all of his five carries. He also showed his tenacity in attack, getting England a crucial penalty after he chased down his own kick, which restablished the six-point lead in the second half.
With 12 caps the Quins full back is just one of the relatively inexperienced England players that Lancaster has put faith in to play on the international stage. The starting lineup on Sunday had 238 caps between them, while Ireland had 532.
But Brown says that the culture developed by Lancaster during his 13-month tenure as head coach is one of passion and pride to play for England and that this was reflected in the side’s outstanding defensive performance against Ireland.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
“I think it’s about the culture that Stuart has built,” said Brown. “The players he has picked are all passionate about wearing the white shirt and I think that showed in our defence. We just try and work with each other and that’s what we have built up.
“It showed in the first 20 minutes when they were hammering our line. We knew they would come flying at us first of all and we knew we had to stop them getting any points which we did. We forced a couple of turnovers and relieved the pressure really well.
“We were just concentrating on our jobs, making sure we played in the right areas and played the conditions right. We didn’t worry too much about the scoreboard, we knew if we played in the right areas we would get the rewards.”
The win over Ireland means that England are the only unbeaten team left in the competition, with the next fixture against France on February 23 at Twickenham. So far this year Les Bleus are yet to record a win after losing to both Italy and Wales, but Brown says the game is not a foregone conclusion and that England can improve.
“We are just taking each game as it comes,” said Brown. “We knew Ireland would be a tough day. We will now look at the game and see where we can improve and start looking ahead. We have got a couple of weeks preparation for France and that will be a massive game. They are a brilliant team with world class players all over the pitch, so that will be a massive game for us and we are really looking forward to it.”