Former England centre Ben Te’o has lifted the lid on the now infamous incident with former teammate Mike Brown during a training camp bonding session that saw the pair dropped from the 2019 Rugby World Cup panel.
The Times reported that Te’o and Brown were stood down for an altercation that occurred between the pair at the team social event. The event was ironically scheduled to foster better relationships within the team, but it backfired spectacularly.
30 days after the incident Mike Brown refused to reveal what had happened: “It’s not right at the moment (to go into detail) because I don’t feel comfortable talking about it. I’ll speak about it in my own time, but the people who are close to me know the details and that’s most important for me.
“It’s not right at the moment (to go into detail) because I don’t feel comfortable talking about it. I’ll speak about it in my own time, but the people who are close to me know the details and that’s most important for me.”
Te’o says that the incident wasn’t a big deal but admits the pair have yet to cross paths or bury the hatchet. Talking to BT’s Brian O’Driscoll on Lions Call, Te’o said: “It’s an interesting one [when referring to being dropped for the RWC by Eddie Jones]. Obviously there was a bonding session and an incident that happened. I’m not too sure whether that’s the reason or whether that’s not the reason. What happened was I went into the World Cup and I had picked up a calf tear early in the World Cup camp. I was doing a lot of rehab and I wasn’t running and was probably falling a little bit behind.
“Then we had an incident with a teammate on a bonding session. Eddie rang me up and said he wasn’t going to take me to the World Cup. He was pretty upset with me,” said Te’o, who now plays for the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL.
“We actually got along fine [he and Mike Brown]. Sometimes things happen and guys have too many drinks.
“To be honest, I don’t think it was that big of a deal. When I woke up in the morning I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.
“But obviously for some people, maybe a leadership group or something along those lines, maybe it was a big deal to them?
“I can’t really change who I am, and the way I am sometimes. You take the good with the bad.”
“There was a bonding session, and an incident had happened…”
“Eddie rang me up and said he wasn’t gonna take me.”ADVERTISEMENT
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) July 19, 2020
The incident between the pair may not have been the only time things got heated in camp, as alluded to by Eddie Jones himself. The Australian admitted that the Te’o/Brown incident was not the only occasion before or during the RWC where emotions ran high.
“It was a matter of us picking the right players for the World Cup. They weren’t the only two players that had differences, there was plenty of other players that had differences, and at the World Cup we had differences.”
Te’o and Brown were on the margins of the squad in any event, with neither player having an impact on England’s Six Nations campaign in 2019. Brown didn’t take the field at all whilst Te’o managed just two minutes off the bench in the final game of England’s campaign, a draw with Scotland.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now