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England full-back Mike Brown escapes citing

Published 29/02/2016

England's Mike Brown has escaped a citing for his kick on Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray
England's Mike Brown has escaped a citing for his kick on Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray

England full-back Mike Brown has escaped a citing for the incident that left Conor Murray requiring stitches to a wound in his head in Saturday's 21-10 RBS 6 Nations victory over Ireland.

Brown kicked Murray after repeatedly swinging his boot in an attempt to dislodge the ball from the hands of the prone Munster scrum-half, whose match was ended with nine minutes remaining in order that he could receive treatment.

A statement issued by Six Nations organisers outlining the disciplinary cases arising from the weekend revealed that Brown had avoided any action being taken for an act that was reviewed at the time on the big screen by referee Romain Poite.

Brown, one of England's trio of vice-captains, took to his Twitter account on Monday morning to absolve himself of any wrongdoing during an incident that appeared reckless rather than deliberate.

"Video ref clearly showed I didn't (do anything wrong) and kicked the ball," Brown said.

Douglas Hunter, the citing officer at Twickenham on Saturday, had until 48 hours after the final whistle to decide whether Brown should face any action.

Murray required stitches to repair the cut close to his eye and Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt believes World Rugby needs to examine the growing number of similar incidents with a view to payer safety.

"They have people who look at those things and I have never, ever tried to influence that,'' said Schmidt.

"The one thing that I did identify is it is something that appears to be a strategy because there is a lot of kicking the ball out of the ruck.

"It's probably something that even the lawmakers or the officials have to have a bit of a look at regarding player safety, particularly with the head and particularly the eyes, as it was in this incident."

England head coach Eddie Jones was typically combative when asked for his view on Brown's attempts to kick the ball free.

"The referee adjudicated on it. It was fair. If the ball is on the ground then you are allowed to kick it, aren't you?" Jones said.

"Why should I give my opinion? If I say something about the referee then tomorrow's headlines are 'Jones complains about the referee'."

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