- Mike Brown rues concession of 17 points in opening quarter vs New Zealand
- “We weren’t getting off the line, we paid them too much respect” – Brown
Mike Brown says England showed New Zealand too much respect in the opening 15 minutes at Twickenham Stadium, allowing the world champions to build up an ultimately unassailable first-half lead.
Tries in the opening quarter from Julian Savea and Kieran Read and seven points from the boot of Dan Carter gave the All Blacks the perfect start, with only an Owen Farrell penalty next to England’s name.
And although Joe Launchbury’s try and five more successful kicks from Farrell’s trusty right boot put Stuart Lancaster’s side into a two-point lead on the hour mark, New Zealand rallied against the physically and emotionally drained hosts and won the game with Savea’s second just three minutes later.
Brown believes England did not adhere to their basic principles in early stages – pressuring the opposition with their line-speed and high-intensity defence – which allowed New Zealand’s world-class finishers room to operate.
Photo: Getty Images
Outlining how England will learn from the heart-wrenching defeat, the Harlequins full back said: “We’re not happy with the loss, we set high standards of ourselves with this group of players.
“We weren’t getting off the line so we were letting them play in front of us and they’ve got world class finishers who will sting you if you let them do that. That’s where we paid them too much respect.
“It was great to get back into the game but we know that games are won and lost by fine margins. We’re a great group of lads who take a lot from the losses and the wins, so we’ll keep moving forwards and on to the Six Nations.”
Head Coach Lancaster chose to highlight Brown’s contribution over the three QBE Internationals this autumn in England’s post-New Zealand press conference, pointing to his consistency against the best the southern hemisphere can offer.
Photo: Getty Images
The 28 year-old was named man of the match – up against British and Irish Lions nemesis Israel Folau – in the opening 20-13 victory over Australia after taking 10 of his 12 carries over the gain line and making two clean breaks.
Brown was solid up against the other Israel, New Zealand’s Dagg, making two expert try-saving interventions as New Zealand turned up the heat in the second half and making 48 metres with eight carries.
Tested to the maximum by the visitors’ expert kicking game, Brown was pleased with how he performed in shutting down their space.
“They like to kick to the right areas and put up a lot of contestable kicks but as a back-three unit we had to make sure we were switched on, he said. “With the likes of Carter, Cruden when he came on, Nonu and Dagg at the back, we knew if we switched off for a second they would find that space. I think we dealt with it pretty well.
And discussing his evolution as an international full back after starting England’s last five Tests in the No.15 shirt, he added: “I’m really grateful for the opportunity to play in 15 jersey after playing on the wing last year. I’m really growing into my role within this team now and I’ve just been trying to do what I’ve been doing for Quins for the last few years.
“I wanted to show consistency at a higher level and I think I’m doing that. I try to beat my opposite number in every game and really pushed Dagg to do that today. He’s probably in my eyes the best 15 in the world for his all-round game so it was good to go toe-to-toe with him and push him hard.”