Mike Brown says he doesn’t feel he got the respect he deserved from England head coach Eddie Jones when he was sensationally dropped from team England prior to the Rugby World Cup following an off-field bust-up with centre Ben Te’o.
Both he and Te’o were dumped by Jones following the incident in August 2019, in the wake of an altercation that occurred between the pair at a team social event. The event was ironically scheduled to foster better relationships within the team, but it backfired spectacularly.
In July, Te’o shed some light on what happened, but the exact detail of the incident remains a mystery. “It’s not right at the moment (to go into detail) because I don’t feel comfortable talking about it,” said Te’o, who is now playing NRL in Australia. “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.”
Now Harlequins fullback Brown has shed a little more light on the incident in a wide-ranging interview in The XV, the new website dedicated to high-end, long-form rugby content.
“Eddie knows the sort of person I am, how much time I put in away from the camp. He knows he could always rely on me and trust me,” Brown told Owain Jones, writing in The XV.
“I felt I deserved a little bit more respect and empathy from my version of events. There was a phone call from him about not making it but the reason he used was unfair in terms of the Ben Te’o situation, which I’m not going to go into.
“He knew what happened. He knows literally everything, even when you’re away from camp. Our final chat wasn’t a good one. I didn’t like what happened, but he’s human and we can all handle situations better. It is what it is.”
Brown says he didn’t always appreciate Jones’ coaching style. “I think his mind games were a bit much. I understand about selection but I’m not sure he dealt with it in the right way. I know selection is tough but there was a situation I don’t think he dealt with it well on my behalf.”
Brown played 29 times under Jones in what was for the most part a good relationship. “With Eddie, the main thing I took from him is his level of preparation. It’s incredible. From recovery to analysis, to how you prepare for training every single day, the stretching, the strength and conditioning, all this away from the camp.”
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