Mike Brown lifts the lid on the adult Eddie Jones franchise and dismisses Ben Te’o’s fight claims

The former Harlequins full-back was left out of England’s 2019 Rugby World Cup squad after a bust with team-mate Ben Te’o, but Mike Brown suspected Eddie Jones had ulterior motives

Mike Brown didn't buy Eddie Jones' argument that his omission from England's 2019 Rugby World Cup squad was due to a fight with Ben Te'o
Mike Brown didn’t buy Eddie Jones’ argument that his omission from England’s 2019 Rugby World Cup squad was due to a fight with Ben Te’o

England can’t afford many complaints from a 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign in which they came second South Africabut the competition brings back sour memories for Mike Brown.

the previous Harlequins Full-back – who has played more games for the club than any other player – has been left out Eddie Jones ‘ squad after a fight between him and his teammate Ben Te’o just before the competition. The squad had traveled to Treviso for some pre-tournament preparations, but both Brown and Te’o missed their flight to Japan after their scuffle in Italy.

Convinced his form and reputation should be enough to earn him a place in the squad, however, the 72-cap star doesn’t believe the manager’s reasoning was justified. Both are considered fiery characters in their fields, Brown even decided to squeeze Jones for details on whether he was real.

“That wasn’t why I didn’t go to the World Cup,” he told former Scottish lock Jim Hamilton Rugby Pass. “I think it was just easier for Eddie to start on that because I kind of got pushed off the team as the season progressed.

“Then a few days later, when Eddie calls people to say they’re not involved, he kind of bets it. I said to him, ‘Look, I get what it is, but don’t put it on it. They didn’t even ask me what happened.’ With all due respect, I really didn’t do anything. I don’t feel like it was my fault. I hadn’t had much to drink, two drinks or whatever. There were people worse off than me, and I was just trying to mind my own business. So he just switched and turned against me, swerving and blinding. It wasn’t nice.

At the time, Brown told Jones to “just be a man” and gave him the real reason because he thought it was “clear and obvious” that the fight with Te’o was being used as an excuse. It is no coincidence that the Quins veteran was out of the team at the time, with Elliot Daly playing every minute of the English season at full-back.

Eddie Jones has dropped both Mike Brown and Ben Te’o from his Rugby World Cup 2019 squad after they struggled on a pre-tournament trip to Italy


(Getty Images)

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Brown – who is playing for now Newcastle Falcons — even asked about the written reports Jones allegedly received from his security team, who allegedly witnessed the scrap. But the Aussie refused to intimidate a member of his squad, further insulting him that the shunned player was so keen to question his decision.

“He said, ‘Who the hell do you think you are?’ because I went back to him and he doesn’t like it,” Brown added. “It’s a shame it ended like this. I wanted clarity as to why I wasn’t selected, not a made-up excuse.”

Although Brown initially maintained his prominent role in England’s plans after Jones first became head coach in 2016, 2018 was his last appearance at the Test before being left behind. Te’o, on the other hand, who made the jump from rugby league to Union in 2014, earned 20 England caps in two and a half years before playing his ax in 2019.

The former Leinster Center has addressed the Brown incident himself in the past and said he didn’t think “it was that big of a deal”. His reaction to the omission of the 2019 World Cup was also reportedly a lot more relaxed after he replied to Jones: “Okay, don’t worry.”

England were favorites to win the tournament after upsetting bookmakers with a semi-final win over giants New Zealand. However, Rassie Erasmus’ Springboks surprised them at the final hurdle, losing 32-12, returning from Japan with the silver medal.

Jones has changed his team plans yet again ahead of next year’s World Cup in France and is promoted Leicester Tiger Youngster Freddie Steward as full-back. This didn’t have the desired effect on the Six Nations as they won just two out of three games for the second year in a row, increasing the pressure on the outgoing tactician.

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