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O'Shea backing for Brown

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea has told Mike Brown not to blame himself after England failed in their attempts to snatch a draw against Wales last weekend.

Brown had only just come on when he collected a long pass from Toby Flood and immediately moved the ball wide to David Strettle, who crashed over the line in the final play of the game but television official Iain Ramage felt the footage was inconclusive and ruled out the try as Wales won 19-12.

"Browny texted me after the game and said 'should I have gone for it'? I said 'no you were right to give the ball'," O'Shea told Press Association Sport. "Browny could have had a go himself but he would have been tackled. If he had waited any longer to pass they'd have hit him."

He added: "He did exactly what he needed to do and give the ball to Strettle.

"You can never give a wing, who is four yards from the line, the ball too early. The bottom line is he scored, it just wasn't given.

"Browny has worked really hard to get himself back in the England squad. It has been a massive wait (since 2008) and a battle and I am delighted he has done it.

"Hopefully, he will get a chance to start a game. I think he is getting closer.

"All he can do is come back this weekend, play hard, play well and ask the question. The good thing for England is you have someone putting the pressure on. It is not a fait accomplis."

Brown, Joe Marler and Jordan Turner-Hall have all been released by England to start for Harlequins in their top-versus-bottom showdown at Kingston Park.

Newcastle Falcons welcome back lock Adriaan Fondse from suspension while Samoan flanker Taiasina Tu'ifua starts on the blindside with Ally Hogg moving to number eight.


From Belfast Telegraph