- England full back looks back on early days in rugby
- Brown urges NatWest School Vase finalists to enjoy Twickenham
Mike Brown may have seen his star rise rapidly over an outstanding 12 months in Test rugby, but the England full back says his formative years in schoolboy rugby were based purely on enjoyment.
Photo: RFU Archive
The Harlequin, who was voted RBS Player of the Championship for a series of exceptional counter-attacking performances during the recent RBS 6 Nations, attended Wyvern College in Wiltshire.
While the rugby programme there took a back seat in favour of football, Brown looks back with fondness. Besides, on moving to Peter Symonds College for sixth form, he took huge strides towards realising his dream of a career in the game.
“When I was at secondary school we didn’t have much rugby,” the 28 year-old explained. “It was mainly football, so when we did have games it was mainly footballers playing. You can imagine what that was like – most people didn’t really know what was going on.
“When I got to Sixth Form College, that was where we started playing a bit more and we actually got to the Vase semi final. We had a pretty handy team.
“Those were great memories, playing sport with your mates and getting through tournaments. Away trips were brilliant as well and you’d all enjoy the banter on and off the field.
“Mike Marchant was my teacher there and was the first person to move me to full back. I still see him to this day as his son is coming through the Academy at Quins.
Photo: Getty Images
“I was probably still just as aggressive on the field back then. I enjoyed myself and enjoyed learning from the coaches I had. I just tried to get stuck in as much as I could – that’s why I started playing the sport and why I love it.”
Brown was speaking at Graveney School in Tooting, where he was helping out with a coaching session for the Under 15 side. The team, mentored by the only female coach will in the competition, Anastacia Long, will play at Twickenham this weekend having made a superb run to the NatWest Schools Vase final.
Now an established star on the international circuit, Graveney’s latest supporter had some poignant advice ahead of their high-stakes clash with Altrincham Grammar School for Boys.
“If I played at Twickenham at that age it’d be a dream come true,” Brown added. “It’s such a great arena, certainly one of the best rugby grounds in the world. It’ll be special for them and hopefully something they remember.
“I’d advise them to try and enjoy every moment of it – the occasion, the atmosphere and the way they are playing. They’ll want to give everything they’ve got so they have no regrets.”