Warning From Mike Brown
January 25 2019
Mike Brown made history earlier this month, becoming the most-capped Harlequins player of all time after notching the 308th appearance of his Quins career, surpassing Graham Murray, who on 307 had held the record for 46 years.
The 33-year-old full-back should perhaps be viewed as something of an authority on playing longevity therefore. And if that is the case, then the RFU best take note of Brown's recent warnings for the future.
“I get concerned with the amount of games that people play in this country,” Brown said in an interview with the Daily Mirror. “I am more concerned for the younger lads, especially when you get to be a regular in the England team.”
“Of course they want to play every game so it is hard to balance that but it is up to other people to help manage that.”
“Clubs are of course paying these players, but it is about player welfare and longevity of career.”
There have been long-held concerns regarding player welfare in professional rugby. The scientists of the sport now know so much more about the long-term dangers of suffering repeated concussions and now with so many injuries occurring at the elite level of the game, player burnout is becoming a more prevalent issue.
Last week saw the latest annual injury report from the RFU and Premiership Rugby, based on findings from last season. It revealed that concussion remains the most common injury in rugby and while incidents had dropped from the number of concussions in the 2016/17 season, the severity of injuries had generally worsened, with an average of 37 days now required on the sidelines for players.
Damningly, the study also found that incidents of training injury were more than twice as likely when players were on international duty.
In addition to his record-breaking feat at Harlequins, Brown has to date also won 72 caps for England and still hopes to regain his place in the national side in time to feature in February's upcoming Six Nations. Eddie Jones's men are 3/1 second favorites across free bet no deposit sites to win the tournament, with Ireland odds on favourites for this year's title.
Brown feels that in the future however, players won't be able to play in the top flight for as long as he has managed and certainly not alongside competing on the international stage, with there being clear detriments to the England national team also.
“Look at the amount of games people from other countries are playing, it is quite a big difference,” he said of the demand on the English players.”
“That is the reality, that is the fact. I am not just sat here making that up. The Irish players, the southern hemisphere guys, they are playing a lot less.”
“It does take its toll and I want England to continue to do well as a nation, and if we want that to happen we might have to take a look at the amount of games we are playing – I think it’s massively important.”
Central contracting is practised in both Ireland and New Zealand, but not in England, where clubs are in control of players and those who are contractually obliged have to take risks with their body if they want to play for their country.
New Zealand are the world's most dominant rugby team. Ireland are the current Six Nations favourites. Maybe it's a coincidence, but unless something changes then maybe England won't be challenging either of those nations in the future.pqs: qs:
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