Mike Brown has backed the new RFU-Premiership Rugby agreement that ensures EPS players get a ten-week off-season
England’s work is already underway to prepare for the next Test against South Africa in November
England and Harlequins fullback Mike Brown has backed his backing to the new RFU-Premiership Rugby agreement that ensures EPS players are given a ten-week off-season.
“We had an incredibly long, tough 13-month season and it was necessary to have some downtime,” revealed Brown at the launch of England’s new kit at Twickenham on Monday
“I don’t know if you ever feel you get enough time off. You would always like more, and the Southern Hemisphere players always seem to get a nice big chunk of rest.
“That’s the nature of our season and what I’ve been used to for the last ten years. Last season was a new experience with it being that long, but we got through it and I was reasonably happy with the way I played personally at the end.”
England’s top players will now benefit from a ten-week off-season in the build-up to the new Premiership season, as well as a possible weekend off if they surpass a certain number of minutes on the field during the November Tests and Six Nations.
It’s a move not surprisingly welcomed by Brown and the rest of the players, but with an eye on the long-term benefits for younger players emerging into the squad as much as himself.
“I think it’s great. Our game is so tough now that you need that time away.
“It will pay dividends for us, especially the young guys coming through to look after them. Because rugby is so much tougher now than when I first started. People are stronger, fitter.
“In the Premiership now there are no easy games, but when I started playing for Harlequins there were a couple of games where you could not play amazingly and still probably win, but now every week is tough.”
Back to England, and work is already underway to prepare for the next Test against South Africa in November, over three months away.
Brown will be paying attention to how the Springboks fare in the upcoming Rugby Championship, with England hoping to end a drought against South Africa which stretches back almost a decade.
“You can’t waste any time. We’re straight into analysing them and what we need to do against them, and what they like to do against teams too,” he explained.
“They’re one of the top teams and I’m yet to beat them in an England shirt. We haven’t defeated them since 2006 and that’s why we’re not wasting a second when we get together.
“As a fan you watch [the Rugby Championship] anyway – it’s a great competition. It’s good to pick up little bits from around the world and then try to replicate that.”
It comes as little surprise that the message about England’s record against South Africa was drilled into the squad during their camp last weekend by Eddie Jones.
England remain unbeaten under the Australian coach following the Grand Slam and 3-0 series in Australia, and Brown revealed that the approach Jones had brought with him to the national side suits the England full-back perfectly.
“He’s a really challenging coach, mentally and physically. That’s the best thing for me,” he said.
“Having someone like him with his experience, having coached the best players and giving me tips, that’s amazing to have. He instils a lot of confidence in me and he’s a good character, keeps you on your toes.”