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'Interesting': Agen have broken silence on Mike Brown speculation

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Agen have broken silence on speculation linking them to signing Mike Brown, the ex-England full-back who is a free agent ahead of the 2022/23 season after he was released by Newcastle following a one-year stay. The soon-to-be 37-year-old was snapped up by Dean Richards in 2021 when he was cut loose by Harlequins, the London club where he had spent his entire career.

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It was March when Brown revealed that he wouldn’t be kept on by the Falcons, who have since promoted Dave Walder as their boss with Richards stepping away after a decade as director of rugby. At the time Brown emotionally spoke to BT Sport about his fears about being left without a job.

“This is not a poor me but it is the side of professional sport that people don’t see… I signed a one-plus-one which is a typical contract for a player of my age at this stage of my career, which means the first year is guaranteed and the second year is if they still want you basically.

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“November time, Deano and I had a conversation and as far as I was aware I was staying for the second year, and the next few months things changed. He brought me in and said that now wasn’t the case and I’m in a position now where I’m trying to find a new club.”

That search has yet to be successful in a market complicated by upwards of 100 players apparently being released across the Gallagher Premiership at the end of the 2021/22 season due to the reduced salary cap.

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Sale, Worcester and Ealing were English clubs that Brown was linked with, but the Sharks connection died a death on Wednesday when the Manchester outfit confirmed they had signed ex-Gloucester full-back Jason Woodward on a one-year deal. The former Quins stalwart was also linked with Agen, the Pro D2 French club whose president Jean-Francois Fonteneau has now reacted to that speculation.

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Speaking to sudouest.fr ahead of the second-tier campaign in France that begins for Agen with an August 26 trip to Provence, Fonteneau said about Brown: “To date, it’s a rumour but it’s an interesting profile.”

Brown wouldn’t be the first ex-Harlequins player to join Agen in recent seasons if the link turned out to be more than speculation. Harry Sloan, who had six seasons at The Stoop before exiting in 2018/19 for Ealing, is preparing for his second season with the Pro D2 club while Gabriel Ibitoye, who was recently signed by Bristol in the off-season, had an ill-fated time at Agen after he joined in 2020 when they were still a Top 14 club.

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