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Harlequins’ Brown admits he can still improve ahead of Saracens clash

Harlequins full back Mike Brown is full of optimism going into the clash with Saracens at Twickenham, though admits that the team can still improve on the performance his side gave against London Irish last time out.

“We started really well in the first half,” said Brown, whose team are 50/1 to win the regular Aviva Premiership season. “We got some good rugby together and got two tries that set us up nicely, but then we dropped off a bit.

“Indiscipline and frustration crept into our game and we struggled to get back up and running, so it ended up far closer than it should have been. It shouldn’t have been that hard to keep our standards up, especially if we want to get to where we’re aiming,” he continued.

“Our level has to stay constant from the first minute to the 80th, even when teams start trying to slow our ball down or refereeing decisions don’t go our way. We want to be top four and the only way to do that is to play the whole game. We’ll have to do that against Saracens because they’ll sting us if we don’t.

“They are renowned for their physicality, so it’ll be about fighting fire with fire. We’re on our home patch, so we need to be the enforcers straight from the off.”

Although Brown will face fellow England teammates Owen Farrell, Billy Vunipola and Alex Goode, he is keen to outshine, and never likes to rest on his laurels. Having already sought and taken more direction from the England coaching team, he is keen to push on and get better. He will hope to play a part in the World Cup next year, a tournament hosts England are second favourites at 10/3 to win, but admits he has to keep playing consistently.

“It’s fairly basic for me. I just want to get better as a player. I was in the 15 shirt for the whole of last season, so other guys are chasing me now because they’re desperate to get into that position.

“But just because I’m being chased, as opposed to chasing myself, nothing changes. I still work on all parts of my game – kicking, decision-making, counter-attack, defence, everything. I want to stamp my authority on every match.

“Coming into last season, people were still debating whether I could play at the highest level as a full back. I felt like I’d shown what I could do on the wing a little bit, but being in my favoured position was what I wanted,” the 29-year-old continued.

“Since the start of pre-season, I’ve met up with Andy Farrell, Mike Catt and Stuart Lancaster to speak about how I can make that next step. There is so much more I can improve on. I’ve been itching to get going again.”