Mike Catt's return to Twickenham with Italy adds spice to Six Nations clash
Mike Brown will welcome Mike Catt back to Twickenham despite knowing that England's former skills coach might still hold some key inside information on the RBS 6 Nations champions.
Brown, who will start Sunday's clash with Italy at full-back, fondly recalls the bottle of champagne he received from Catt when winning his 50th cap in the opening Test of last summer's tour to Australia.
But he also queries whether Catt, now a member of Conor O'Shea's Azzurri coaching team, could be seeking to plot England's downfall using the knowledge gained when working under Stuart Lancaster.
"Mike is a really nice guy and we got on really well personally and it will be great on a personal level to catch up with him," Brown said.
"I had a few texts from him around my 50th cap. He was kind enough to text me congratulations and to see how I was.
"He even sent me a bottle of champagne after the game to my hotel room which was really nice. It shows what type of bloke he is, the fact he remembered.
"I think this England team is different now, but he might have taken stuff away. We'll find out on Sunday.
"I'm not sure what he'll be implementing with Italy. He's their attack coach so he's probably got a few more of his own ideas."
Brown will operate behind a new-look midfield that is likely to see Owen Farrell start at fly-half and Ben Te'o and Elliot Daly paired in the centres.
Daly has emerged as one of England's stars since breaking into the starting XV last autumn, but after five substitute appearances Te'o has yet to be fully tested in the international arena.
Bulldozing cameos against France and Wales, however, suggest the rugby league convert is developing into the type of union player it was hoped Sam Burgess would become.
"Ben has progressed really well since being in the England environment," Brown said.
"He's got that direct game but also has good ball-handling skills, is a good off-loader, his defence is brilliant and he's been really good coming off the bench as a finisher these last couple of weeks.
"He brings energy, great running skills, can get us over the gain line and also his defence has been top drawer.
"He and Sam are similar in the way that they have the off-loading skills, the skills they've brought over from rugby league.
"I think Te'o grew up playing rugby union first so he had that base whereas Sam didn't. Sam was having to start from zero, so Te'o has progressed a bit more."
Eddie Jones names his starting XV to face Italy on Friday morning with openside James Haskell deemed fit enough to be promoted from the bench and Dylan Hartley set to hold off the challenge of Jamie George once more.
Anthony Watson, Jack Nowell and Jonny May are competing for the two wing slots with Watson ready to make his first appearance since the Australia tour in June.
Brown's possession of the number 15 jersey is under threat from Watson and Daly, but the 31-year-old does not view Sunday's cap as being more precious knowing his career his finite.
"For me as a player I've always appreciated playing exactly the same and it shows," Brown said.
"The way I am as a player and a person I'm easily read, some people are better at hiding their feelings.
"You can see my emotions - some say it's anger, but it's more competitive and passionate. It's always been that way every time I've been lucky enough to wear the jersey."