Premiership: Mike Brown insists ‘don’t write off’ golden oldies after shining on Leicester debut
Mike Brown believes that he proved a point after his starring role in Leicester Tigers’ 24-18 Premiership victory over Saracens.
The former England full-back was named man of the match as the defending champions overcame the league leaders.
Brown is now 37 but still believes that he has plenty to offer the game, something he very much showed in Sunday’s clash.
Age no barrier
In fact, five of the Tigers’ backline players were 32 or over, with Jimmy Gopperth (39), Chris Ashton (35), Ben Youngs (33) and Matt Scott (32), the other four.
The 72-times capped international featured 351 times for Harlequins before being discarded in 2021 and then played at Newcastle Falcons for a season until he was released in June last year.
He has spent the past few months sending his CV out to various Premiership clubs before Leicester came calling to cover for Freddie Steward’s absence.
“It was really good being back out doing something I enjoy,” Brown said.
“I texted Wiggy (Wigglesworth) and offered my services as I believed I could do a job.
“I am fully aware that they have a world-class full-back here in Freddie Steward, but I’m here as cover and feel I can contribute, and I think today I’ve shown what I can do.
“I’ve done a lot of training down the park and in the gym in the hope that an opportunity would arise.
“It sends a message to people not to write players off as one of my former clubs wrote me off because of age.”
Richard Wigglesworth was another ‘golden oldie’ having continued playing at a high level until he was named the Tigers’ interim head coach following Steve Borthwick’s departure.
It has been a baptism of fire for Wigglesworth, who has had to guide the defending champions through a difficult period, but the 39-year-old saw a much-improved display in the opening half as they went 24-3 ahead before Saracens fought back.
He said: “For the first 35 minutes, we were a really good team, and if we play like that, we are a real handful.
“For the rest of the game, we were pretty poor, apart from showing some real dog and fight.
“We were under the cosh for the whole 45 minutes as we just couldn’t get out of our own half, and our discipline wasn’t good enough.”
Frustration for Sarries
Leicester inflicted just Saracens’ second Premiership defeat of the season, but Mark McCall felt it was a game they “should have won.”
“Although we were up against heroic last-ditch defence, we had five or six chances to score but didn’t do so,” the Sarries’ director of rugby said.
“Definitely, we have to do better than that, but I’m pleased at how the players responded to being 24-3 down, and our senior players were superb.
“However, it was an incredibly poor start as we gave away two 50-metre tries in the first 12 minutes, but it will still be a good learning curve for some of our youngsters.”
READ MORE: Leicester Tigers withstand Saracens fightback to boost play-off hopes
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