Mike Brown has revealed the full story of how he was infamously booted out of the England squad following a scrap with teammate Ben Te’o.
“It was unfortunate really,” Brown told RugbyPass Jim Hamilton in the Rugby Roots documentary. “You’ve been on enough socials to know things like that happen.
“We’d had a really intense two week period in Treviso in our World Cup camp. The training was the toughest I’ve ever experienced in my life.
“And we hadn’t done too much socially away from it. So at the end of that two-week block we had a social. Just a beach club during the day.
“Some guys had a few too many. I think I’d had like two drinks. I’m not a big drinker. But then we’d worked hard so.
“There was a situation where another player had too many. I don’t know whether I should his name. He’s not a great drinker,” joked Brown. “Maro [Itoje] decided it would be funny to go around whacking people, in a fun, jovial way, but he’s a big guy and he’s been drinking.
“He hit me very hard there [points at chest]. Hard enough to leave a massive handprint. And I’m sitting there just chatting, having a good relax for the first time in a few weeks and he’s come up behind me and whacked me.
“He’s done it to a few people, but I didn’t really take kindly to that.
“So I left it a few minutes because I was steaming. I was so angry.
“I left it a few minutes, calmed down, then pulled him aside and said ‘Look, I know we’re having a good time and that, but I don’t really appreciate that. I think it’s disrespectful, just don’t do it again. And it was fine, me and Maro were fine.”
“Ben [Te’0] being the wind-up he is, kind of cottoned on to that and then for the rest of the time decided he would try and wind me up. And he’d had a few aswell. He likes his drink.
“He kept on [motions a pushing gesture with hands], ‘You’re not going to do anything, you’re not going to do anything. Tough guy on the pitch’, just messing around.
“There was a case where he [Te’o] was trying to do it and he kind of fell over this table and knocked a load of drinks over.
“Joe Marchant and Alex Dombrandt, who were new to the environment at the time, just stood up and were like ‘Ben, what are you doing? Just leave him alone. We’re just trying to chill out.’
“I don’t think he liked that because they were two young guys and it wound him up a bit. He went away and I think he was a bit annoyed because he’d been shown up by two young lads.
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“So then we left, early evening, late afternoon, we all walked back because we always left as a team to get on the coach.
“I can hear him in front of me with a group of lads. There’s a couple of us and then there’s a big group and he’s going ‘I’m going to knock him out on the bus, I’m going to do this to him, I’m going to that to him’.
“I was like ‘Te’o, I’m stood right behind you. What’s your problem?’
“I’m walking and he kind of walks back to me and we meet and he’s just swung for me. He clips me nicely [points to brow]. He’s handy with his fists aswell. He spends more time doing his boxing on the side of the pitch than training on it,” laughed Brown. “Anyone who knows Te’o, knows he’s not the biggest trainer.
“He’s done a lot of boxing and he’s a big lad and he clipped me well. We just kind of came together and everyone kind of dove in and broke it up.
“I didn’t get near him. By the time he’d thrown it, to use coming together, everyone was in there just pulling us apart. That’s basically what happened.”
INFAMOUS TEAMMATE SCRAPS
#1. Martin Johnson & Lewis Moody, 2004
Moody’s desire to impress on his return after injury in 2004 caused a flare-up with the then Tigers captain.
“It was my first session and I was extra keen, trying to do everything and hit everything,” Moody told The Sun.
“Tempers flared and ‘Johnno’ and I had a little coming together. He gave me a little dink and I gave him a little dink – but his hurt a lot more! It’s just typical training ground stuff. You need that friendly rivalry.”