Missed us? Buy TRP here!

Subscribers login | Free sample


Get our weekly Rugby email

Mike Brown vows to step up in ‘Murderball’ funding battle

Combative England full-back Mike Brown has vowed to fight for wheelchair rugby the same way as he plays by helping to raise the £2m needed to keep the sport alive.

Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby are set to appeal Sport UK’s decision to slash their £2.9m funding to zero for the next four-year Olympics cycle – a situation Brown finds unfathomable given the growth of a sport he first became involved in as an ambassador in 2011.

Brown, right, told TRP: “Wheelchair rugby is an action-packed sport which at the Paralympics is the one everyone wants to watch. Great Britain are European champions and came close to a medal in Rio, so why UK Sport cut their funding is beyond me.

“I’d like to meet the people who made that ridiculous decision because for a lot of these high-impairment wheelchair rugby players it’s the only chance they’ll get to represent Team GB and there are some amazing stories of people who’ve beaten the odds.

“I’m sure GBWR will appeal, but in the meantime I’ll be arranging some dinners and helping to set up a crowd-funding page, while over recent years I’ve been selling my old kit on inmylocker.com with all the proceeds going to GBWR.

“There’s been a lot of interest already, which is always much appreciated, and I’m not going to take a backward step on this. That’s the way I play and it’s the same with GBWR; they’ve let me be part of their team and now it’s time for me to step up as much as I can.”

Meanwhile, Brown is also looking to raise his performances on the field after a stellar year in which he started all bar one of England’s 13 games – the exception being Fiji – and established himself as a leading contender for next summer’s British & Lions tour.

He intends demanding more of himself in 2017, explaining: “You never feel like you’re the finished article. I feel like I’m improving all the time and Eddie Jones is helping me with that. He’s pleased with what I’m doing but I know there’s a lot more to come.

“He’s challenged everyone to go away from England with their clubs and show the difference between international players and the rest, so I’ll try to take that into an important period of the season for Harlequins, starting in our Big Game against Gloucester.

“I’d be lying if I said the Lions wasn’t in my mind. I grew up a rugby fan from the age of five watching all those Lions tours and wanting to be part of that, but it starts with your club and continues with England so I’ve got to put myself in the best position I can.”

Brown’s leadership has shone through during England’s record-equalling unbeaten 14-match run.

Jones’s decision to promote him to vice-captain alongside Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola has been justified, making him a candidate to succeed Dylan Hartley should the Australian decide to ditch Northampton’s bad boy in the wake of his six-week striking ban.

Brown does not believe it will come to that, though, adding: “I’ve no issues with Dylan. It’s unfortunate what happened but he’s been a brilliant leader who’s done an outstanding job for England and he has a lot of credit in the bank this year.

“I’ve known Dylan since we played in the England U21s together and he’s a brilliant bloke off the field and a brilliant player on it. I’ve enjoyed being in strategy and leadership groups with him and the results are there to see since Eddie made him captain.”


This article was brought to you by The Rugby Paper, the UK's best-selling rugby publication, on-sale every Sunday.
To subscribe to The Rugby Paper CLICK HERE

Tagged ,

Related Posts

Comments are closed on this article.

Have Your Say!

[snack_ad id="6539107" type="1by1"]