Six Nations 2015: England have moved on from 2013 Wales defeat
England full-back aiming to avenge disappointment from two years ago when the Red Rose lost 30-3 at the Millennium Stadium
Mike Brown insists that England will be better equipped to deal with a hostile Welsh reception at the Millennium Stadium on Friday.
The Harlequins full-back lined up on the wing for the Red Rose when they last visited Cardiff two years ago with ambitions on leaving with a Grand Slam, but were thumped 30-3 by Warren Gatland’s Wales amid a fantastic atmosphere.
Hopefully we’ll be a lot better equipped to deal with a match in Cardiff. It’s been a long time since that fixture and we’ve moved on since then, individually and collectively.
England went in at the break 9-3 down, but the second half turned into a nightmare, with the magnitude of the result such that it was more than enough for Wales to shatter English dreams of a first Grand Slam in 10 years and deny them the title on points difference as Gatland’s men retained their title against the odds.
“That was one of the lowest experiences of my rugby career and it’s in the back of the mind,” Brown said.
“With everything that was riding on the game, it was obviously massively disappointing to lose in the way we did.
“It was a closer game than most people will have you believe, we just didn’t take our chances on the day and ended up doing not too well.
“It was a game that could have swung in our direction because there were momentum shifts, but then we chased the game and it got away from us.
“Hopefully we’ll be a lot better equipped to deal with a match in Cardiff.
“It’s been a long time since that fixture and we’ve moved on since then, individually and collectively.
“You learn from these experiences and we’ve grown as a team, but we’ll find out Friday.”
Despite the contest’s importance as the opening match of this year’s Six Nations, it also serves as a dress rehearsal for the Rugby World Cup later this year when the two nations will meet in the pool stages.
This will probably be the tightest Six Nations there has ever been. Every game will be a massive test and a massive occasion.
England go into the match as underdogs, due in part to their lengthy injury list that numbered 12 by Monday morning, while Wales have a clean bill of health and Gatland named his team 48 hours early.
For Brown, who should be confirmed as England’s full-back when Lancaster names his team on Wednesday morning, the atmosphere produced at the Millennium Stadium is unrivalled in world rugby.
“I enjoy atmospheres like that,” he added.
“As a player you want to be involved in these types of experiences and go to places like Cardiff.
“In terms of away fixtures, the atmosphere there is probably the best you’ll experience as a rugby player. It was incredible two years ago.
“I can’t speak for anyone else in the team and how they reacted to the atmosphere that day, but I enjoyed the occasion. I just didn’t enjoy losing.
“This will probably be the tightest Six Nations there has ever been. Every game will be a massive test and a massive occasion.
“Wales v England is one of the biggest fixtures and we’re looking forward to getting started.”