Winning Man of the Match awards has become second nature for Mike Brown, who took the kudos after the games against Scotland, Ireland and Italy in the 2014 RBS 6 Nations. His secure catching and ability to break tackles in confined spaces have mirrored his sterling performances for Harlequins.
When gaining his 50th cap against Australia in England’s historic 39-28 win over the Wallabies in Brisbane this June, he had appeared in 43 of the past 45 Test matches. He also started the second Test in Melbourne the following week.
A former England Saxons player, he had celebrated his 40th cap, along with his RWC debut with two tries against Fiji at Twickenham last September as the centrepiece of an outstanding performance for which he was man of the match. He made 172 metres in the game and he also topped the defenders beaten (nine) and clean break statistics (four). It was the second time he had touched down twice for England – the first being against Italy in Rome last year.
He was one of England’s three vice-captains for the Scotland match at the start of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations Championship, the others being Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola.
Mike played against the Springboks at Bloemfontein and Pretoria eight years ago on his first senior tour and against New Zealand at Auckland the following summer. He won seven caps on the wing from late November 2012 to March 2013 before reverting to full back on the summer tour of South America. That illustrated not only his versatility but his drive and resourcefulness.
His sharp eye for a gap brought his maiden Test try against France at Stade de France in February 2014 and a second against Scotland in the 20-0 win the following week. He was man of the match in that game at Murrayfield and he made 114 metres – more than any other player on either side. Mike repeated those twin achievements against Ireland at the end of that month and gained 88 metres to help his side to a 13-10 win.
His third Man of the Match award in the 2014 RBS 6 Nations Championship came when he scored two tries in the 52-11 win over Italy in Rome that March. His fifth touchdown was against the All Blacks at Dunedin 2014 and his sixth came against Samoa the following November. Since then he has added three more tries, including a superb team effort that ended in his diagonal run towards the corner against Ireland at Twickenham in February this year. It was among the outstanding tries in the 2016 Championship.
He had impressed for the Saxons a few months before his initial international call. Four years on from then, he scored a try for the side in the 45-17 victory over Italy A at Worcester and added two against the USA in the Churchill Cup match in June 2011. That May, he became an Amlin Challenge Cup winner when Harlequins beat Stade Français 19-18 in Cardiff and was also voted the club’s players’ player of the season. His latest accolades include being the man of the match when England beat Australia 20-13 at Twickenham in November 2014 and he was player of the series in the 2013 QBE Internationals. In February 2015, his subtle grubber kick inspired a maiden Test try for Anthony Watson in the outstanding 21-16 win over Wales in Cardiff. He missed the Ireland match in Dublin while recovering from concussion sustained in the game against Italy but returned against Scotland a fortnight later.
Mike had been in prime form in 2011-12, helping Harlequins to win the Premiership title for the first time and scoring 12 tries in his first 27 matches that included five in six Heineken Cup games.
Between his Test caps, Mike was ever-present in 2007-08 for Harlequins in the Premiership, having more game time than any other player in the league. He showed his maturity, appeared in 30 matches that season and missed only two games.
He had been a member of the England U21 squad that achieved a Grand Slam in 2006, having been born in Southampton and educated at Peter Symonds College in Winchester and Wyvern College, Salisbury.
Mike joined the local club’s U8 team, represented Dorset & Wiltshire from U14-U18, the South West U18 and Hampshire U20. He became a Harlequins Academy member in 2002-03 and later established himself as a regular choice for their A League team.
A try-scorer on his 19-minute senior debut against Doncaster Knights in October 2005, he started his first match against Coventry the following week. That season, he ran in seven tries in 13 National One games. He was the club’s young player of the year in 2005-06 and their player of the year the following season. Mike had amassed a remarkable 79 tries in 262 appearances by the end of last season despite missing the final two months of the 2014/15 campaign while recovering from concussion. He is no longer suffering from those symptoms and took part in England’s build-up to last year’s Rugby World Cup before making a sound return against France in Paris that August after a five month absence.
45 points – 9T
2007 SA(1,2) 2008 NZ(1) 2012 S(R), W(R), I(R), SA(1), Fj(R), A(R), SA, NZ 2013 S, I, F, It, W, Arg(1,2), A, Arg, NZ 2014 F, S, I, W, It, NZ (1,2,3), NZ, SA, Sam, A 2015 W, It, S, F, F, I World Cup - Fj, W, A, U(R) 2016 S, It, I, W, F, W, A(1,2)
Last updated: 19 June 2016