Six Nations
England's hope for Brown return against Ireland
ESPN staff
February 24, 2015
Kruis: Belief in the England camp is strong

England retain hope that Mike Brown will participate in Sunday's Six Nations showdown with Ireland after completing the latest stage in the return to play protocols for concussion.

Brown was knocked unconscious following an accidental collision with Andrea Masi in the 47-17 victory over Italy and is a doubt for the potential title decider at the Aviva Stadium.

The reigning player of the Championship suffered a recurrence of symptoms last week and was forced to restart the protocols, but completed Tuesday's running session and will progress on to the next stage.

The Graduated Return to Play Protocols

  • 1. Minimum rest
  • 2. Light aerobic exercise
  • 3. Sport-specific exercise
  • 4. Non-contact training drills
  • 5. Full contact practice
  • 6. Return to play

Alex Goode is on standby to deputise and Chris Pennell is also in the squad as full-back cover if Brown fails to prove his fitness by the deadline on Friday morning when the starting XV is announced.

"Mike completed the running base session on Tuesday, which is great news for us, and we shall see how he recovers from that overnight," forwards coach Graham Rowntree said.

"We'll take it day by day using the appropriate protocols. The only thing that matters here is his health."

When asked if England would have any problem starting Brown if he is declared fit, Rowntree said: "No, absolutely not.

"As with every other concussion that's happened, we tick all of those relevant boxes. We've been diligent."

Sunday will see the Six Nations' only two unbeaten teams collide in Dublin with the winner in pole position to claim the title.

"It's always a challenge going over there. It took a very good performance from us to win there two years ago," Rowntree said. "I have so much respect for the Irish team, they're very well coached and experienced.

"They're on a roll, we're aware of that, and from what I hear they're up for this game. And so are we."

England 26-man squad:
Forwards: D Attwood (Bath Rugby), K Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), T Croft (Leicester Tigers), N Easter (Harlequins), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), J Haskell (Wasps), G Kruis (Saracens), J Marler (Harlequins), Robshaw (Harlequins, capt) Henry Thomas (Bath Rugby), B Vunipola (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens), T Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Backs: M Brown (Harlequins), L Burrell (Northampton Saints), D Cipriani (Sale Sharks), G Ford (Bath Rugby), A Goode (Saracens), J Joseph (Bath Rugby), J Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), C Pennell (Worcester Warriors), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), A Watson (Bath Rugby), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Mike Brown is a doubt for Sunday's match in Dublin © Getty Images
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