England's Mike Brown praises France for efforts at Twickenham
Last Updated: 22/03/15 2:04pm
England full-back Mike Brown has paid tribute to France for the part they played in Saturday’s incredible finish to the Six Nations Championship.
And the Harlequins man also implied that the efforts of Italy and Scotland were less than impressive.
On a day when points difference was set to be vital, Wales romped to a 61-20 win in Italy but were then displaced at the top of the table by Ireland, who thrashed the Scots 40-10 at Murrayfield.
That left England needing to beat France by 26 points at Twickenham but they fell just short in an amazing Twickenham encounter, eventually prevailing 55-35.
The result meant England finished second in the Six Nations for the fourth year in a row, and Brown contrasted the gutsy French display with the efforts from Italy and Scotland.
"Massive credit to the French for the way they fronted up for this game and for the way they played, compared to a few other countries," said Brown.
"Fair play to France, they played a game. I don't need to saying anything else. Everyone knows it.
Massive credit to the French for the way they fronted up for this game and for the way they played, compared to a few other countries.
"It was fast paced, end to end. We played good rugby, they played good rugby. France turned up and made a game of it. They could have easily folded, so it was great to see that from them, from a spectator point of view."
Brown also felt England were unlucky to be penalised in the closing stages as they drove forward looking for the converted try that could have won them the Championship.
Referee Nigel Owens whistled for a penalty to France with England yards from the line and, although France added to the drama by trying to run the penalty out, the hosts could not get their hands back on the ball.
Brown said of the penalty: “I thought we were hard done by. We were going forward and it was brought down, it looked a bit dodgy to me. I was in the middle of that drive and I thought we were going forward. It was a maul.
We're in great shape for the World Cup. Not many teams put that amount of points on a French side that hasn't conceded more than two tries previously in the tournament.
"Fair play to France though, they were still playing at the end, so we got another chance."
Like head coach Stuart Lancaster, Brown has been involved in all four of England’s Six Nations near misses.
"I'm gutted,” he said. “It's tough to take at the moment obviously, but we have massive belief in the squad.
"We're in great shape for the World Cup. Not many teams put that amount of points on a French side that hasn't conceded more than two tries previously in the tournament.
"Our attacking game has been brilliant all Championship and has come on leaps and bounds. We showed how dangerous we can be and hopefully we can take that into future games."