Premiership Rugby

Leicester Statement: Mike Brown Has Joined With Immediate Effect

Leicester Statement: Mike Brown Has Joined With Immediate Effect

Defending Gallagher Premiership champion Leicester confirmed the signing of ex-England fullback Mike Brown on a short-term contract, effective immediately.

Feb 1, 2023 by RugbyPass
Leicester Statement: Mike Brown Has Joined With Immediate Effect

Defending Gallagher Premiership champion Leicester has confirmed the signing of ex-England full-back Mike Brown on a short-term contract, following the departure of the Super Rugby Pacific-bound Freddie Burns, who played his final Tigers game last Saturday. 

Burns, the drop-goal hero from last year's league final, has exited to join the Dunedin-based Highlanders, and the vacancy will be filled by Brown, following his completion of a short trial at the club.

Brown, who hasn't played in the Premiership since an appearance last March with Newcastle, was a free agent. His only rugby this season was as part of the Barbarians squad for their three-game Premiership club tour in November.

A statement read: "Leicester can confirm the signing of Mike Brown on a short-term contract. The back joins the Tigers after previously representing Harlequins, where he won two Premiership titles, and the Newcastle Falcons. Brown has made 72 test appearances for England and featured in three Six Nations-winning campaigns for the national side. Brown joins the club, effective immediately."

New Leicester boss Richard Wigglesworth said: "Mike is an experienced Premiership player, who has represented his country and won trophies at the club and test level. His experience and his knowledge are vital during this Six Nations period, where we have a number of players away.

"Mike is hungry to prove himself out on the pitch and impressed us with not only what he is saying and doing off the pitch, but his efforts on the field and willingness to help those guys around him. Above all, Mike is a competitor and wants to be successful. We want those attributes in our players, and he offers that."

The 37-year-old Brown added: "To join a club like this, with all of its history and players who have been here before, it is amazing. When the Leicester Tigers offer you the chance to go into the environment, it is a hard one to turn down. Getting the chance to come into the environment has been great, so far, and a really positive experience for me.

"It has just had a great impression on me, led by enthusiastic coaches - one of which in Richard, I have played a lot of rugby with - and then, equally, all of the players have welcomed me in. I have felt sharp, and it has been really good out on the field with this group of Tigers players.

"I still believe I have a part to play in the game. I didn't believe it was my time to stop because I felt good, and I still feel good. I have been staying fit, wanting to be ready and not just hanging on to hope, but being prepared if it did."

It was last October when Brown, a distinguished decade-and-a-half servant with Harlequins, spoke at length with RugbyPass about being left on the shelf for the start of the 2022-2023 season, after his one-year stay at Newcastle fizzled out. 

He had been linked with numerous clubs during the offseason, but he revealed there was no truth in any.

"No, none at all," he replied when asked if there genuinely was truth in any of the speculation that he was off here, there and everywhere. "There was a period of about four weeks, where I was linked to some teams as ridiculous as Saracens. I mean, they would never have picked me up. One, because of my stint with Quins. Two, because they don't need me.

"There was Sarries, there was Sale, there was Worcester at one point before what happened, happened [the club's financial collapse], other people like that, and then it was Agen, but I literally haven't spoken to anyone. None of them are true, unfortunately. I'm still waiting if one comes, but it's more working toward my transition, and then whichever opportunity comes first, if it fits, then that is what I will take."

Regarding his unplanned layoff, he added: "Everyone goes through it at some point in their lives, whether it is straight after uni or later on in their life or they change any job, any industry. That is just what I'm going through at the moment, but I do believe if you keep working hard opportunities will come.

"So, even when I have those low, uncertain moments, I keep going back to what I did in my rugby career, investing in it and working hard at it, and then the opportunities came. I believe it will be the same with my transition."