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The 'bit of responsibility' Mike Brown has taken on at Harlequins training as he awaits his appeal hearing on Wednesday night

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Mike Brown is back in training at Harlequins in the hope that his career at the London club might not yet be over despite his six-game ban. Sent off for stamping on May 9, the veteran full-back learned his fate three days later after he sat in on an independent disciplinary hearing that was virtually held the previous evening.  

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Set to join Newcastle on a two-year deal, the six-game suspension meant that he had played his final match for Quins as the most games the club could have between then and the end of this season was six if they reached the Gallagher Premiership final.

Brown’s stamp on Wasps’ Tommy Taylor was deemed to be at the top end of the foul play scale, resulting in the entry point of twelve games that was reduced to six when 50 per cent mitigation was applied. 

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That seemed to be the best outcome that could have been wished for, given the stamp was categorised as a top-end offence. However, Harlequins announced on May 20 that it was their intention to appeal the suspension and the Brown case will be held this Wednesday evening, May 26, by a new online independent disciplinary panel comprising Philip Evans (chair), with Daniel White and Julian Morris.

It appears that if Brown is to successfully have his sanction reduced, it would likely need the foul play to be reclassified as a middle-end offence where the pattern of punishment this season at hearings has been for a six-game entry point to be reduced to a three-match ban once the 50 per cent mitigation is applied. 

This would free Brown for Harlequins’ final match of the regular season and allow him to go on and be in contention for semi-final selection, but that scenario seems a longshot ahead of the appeal.  “I’m not clued up on how possible that is,” admitted assistant coach Nick Evans. “I can’t really comment too much on that. We will have to wait and see and hopefully for him it works out… it’s hard to comment, it’s out of my hands. I’m sure he will go in with the best intentions and we will see what happens.”

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In the meantime, Brown has been back on the training ground in Guildford trying to be of whatever assistance he can be to a team that is in fourth place on the table with three rounds of regular-season games remaining, starting versus Bath on Saturday.    

“He [Brown] had a bit of time off. He had a couple of days to process everything but he has come back in. He is training with us and we have given him a bit of responsibility around the back three, high ball work which he is world-class at,” explained Evans. 

“It’s good to have him in and around the group. He has got a wealth of experience and he wants to see us achieve what he thinks we can achieve, so having him around the group is good especially for the young back three. Tyrone (Green) has moved back there, we have Louis Lynagh coming back from injury, so having someone like Mike Brown around to help the younger guys in these money months is going to be crucial for us.

“It’s really unfortunate that it has turned out in this way. The best respect and the best thing that we can do for him is to go ahead and do the best we can. The first job is to beat Bath on Saturday and then go from there. But if we could send him off in unbelievably incredible style then that is what we will try to do.”

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The 'bit of responsibility' Mike Brown has taken on at Harlequins training as he awaits his appeal hearing on Wednesday night

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