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Brown hits out at state of Murrayfield surface
6:03pm Sunday 9th February 2014 in Sport
SOUTHAMPTON’S Mike Brown may have graced Murrayfield with a man-of-the-match performance, but he still condemned the pitch as unfit for international sport.
A 20-0 victory over Scotland revived England’s RBS 6 Nations title aspirations as a potentially awkward Calcutta Cup clash was negotiated with impressive ease.
The only flaw was the inability to add to the tries scored by full back Brown and Luther Burrell against feeble opposition and in a Championship that could be settled by points difference.
Every bit as alarming as Scotland's frailty was the disgraceful condition of their parasite-infested pitch that was covered in large patches of mud and was in a pitiful state even before kick-off.
The Scottish Rugby Union is to install a hybrid artificial surface in time for next season, and Brown, a former Peter Symonds College student in Winchester and Salisbury RFC lock, deems it inadequate for Test rugby in its present form.
“It definitely has an impact when you play on a pitch like that," he said.
“It's not really good enough to play an international game on that sort of turf. This is elite sport and an international game can get ruined by a pitch like that.
“I know Scotland want to play a bit more and we definitely want to play a bit more, but the condition of the pitch didn't really help."
For all his strong words, the boggy surface failed to prevent Brown from tormenting the Scots by repeatedly breaking the first tackle with a trademark display of strength and tenacity.
When offered sight of the whitewash by the elusive footwork of Jack Nowell, Stuart Hogg blocked his path but there was only one winner of that duel as Brown ran in his second try in two matches.
The 28-year-old was the star of last autumn's QBE Internationals, but his impact was confined to running the ball out of defence.
Now he is more involved in attack and England are reaping the rewards.
Remarkably, his heroics were produced despite falling ill on the journey to Edinburgh and he was close to vomiting on more than one occasion as he addressed the media.
“I caught a bug through the air-con when travelling up here. I didn't sleep too well on Friday night and I have a really sore throat now,” the Harlequins back said.
“I've had the shakes and you know when you're ill you are sensitive to every little knock and the cold. It wasn't ideal but you have to do what you can do.
“I dosed up on paracetamol and all the things you are allowed to take. But the throat is definitely really sore now.”
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