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From Bod’s hat-trick to Sexton’s drop-goal, no opponent has defined this Irish rugby century quite like France

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Mike Brown currently on trial at a Premiership club - report

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Ex-England full-back Mike Brown is reportedly on trial at a Gallagher Premiership club ten months after playing his last game in the league. It was March 2022 when the now 37-year-old made his last appearance for Newcastle. He has since been in rugby limbo, his only action coming during the Barbarians’ three-game English club tour in November versus Harlequins, Bath and Northampton.

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However, having recently contested the RPA general secretary position that was eventually taken by Christian Day, it has now emerged that Brown is now angling for a return to playing as it is believed he has been training at Leicester, the defending Premiership champions.

A UK media report on Wednesday read: “Sportsmail has learned that Brown is training with the Tigers, who are soon to be light on full-backs due to Freddie Steward’s selection for England and Freddie Burns’ impending move to Highlanders next month.

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“Richard Wigglesworth stepped up last month to succeed Steve Borthwick and retired from playing, but he took over a squad with a number of injuries. There are also seven Tigers – including first-choice full-back Steward – in England’s squad preparing for the Six Nations.

“Wigglesworth will also see Burns, the drop goal hero from last season’s Premiership final win over Saracens, move to New Zealand next month for a stint with the Highlanders. It means that without Steward and Burns, Leicester are light at full-back which is Brown’s favoured position.

“Brown would undoubtedly provide Wigglesworth with a great deal of experience and despite not playing professional rugby this season, he has been keeping himself in good physical condition. The short-term trial agreement allows Leicester and interim coach Wigglesworth to cast their eye over Brown before making any decision on a possible longer deal.”

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It was last October when Brown, a distinguished decade-and-a-half servant with Harlequins, spoke at length with RugbyPass about being left on the shelf for the start of the 2022/23 season after his one-year stay at Newcastle fizzled out. He had been linked with numerous clubs during the off-season but he revealed there was no truth in any.

“No, none at all,” he replied when asked if there genuinely was truth in any of the speculation that he was off here, there and everywhere. “There was a period of about four weeks where I was linked to some teams as ridiculous as Saracens. I mean, they would never have picked me up. One because of my stint with Quins and two because they don’t need me.

“There was Sarries, there was Sale, there was Worcester at one point before what happened, happened [the club’s financial collapse], other people like that, and then it was Agen, but I literally haven’t spoken to anyone. None of them are true, unfortunately. I’m still waiting if one comes but it’s more working towards my transition and then whichever opportunity comes first, if it fits then that is what I will take.”

Regarding his unplanned layoff, he added: “Everyone goes through it at some point in their lives, whether it is straight after uni or later on in their life or they change any job, any industry. That is just what I’m going through at the moment, but I do believe if you keep working hard opportunities will come.

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“So even when I have those low, uncertain moments I keep going back to what I did in my rugby career, investing in it and working hard at it and then the opportunities came. I believe it will be the same with my transition.”

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