Brown gave more details about what happened before the 2019 incident which ultimately saw the pair kicked out of England. Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan.
The incident made national headlines, but Brown has so far declined to go into detail about what exactly happened. For the first time in three years, the Newcastle The Falcons full-back explained exactly what happened in Italy.
“It was really unfortunate,” Brown said. Rugby Pass Jim Hamilton in the Roots of rugby documentary. “You’ve been on enough social media to know things like this happen.
“We had a really intense two-week period in Treviso in our World Cup camp. The training was the hardest I have ever experienced in my life.
“And we hadn’t done much socially away from that. So, at the end of this two week block, we had a social evening. Just a beach club during the day.
“Some guys had a little too much. I think I had two glasses. I am not a heavy drinker. But then we had worked hard as well.
“There was a situation where another player had too much. I don’t know if I got his name. He’s not a big drinker,” Brown joked. “Maro [Itoje] decided it would be fun to hit people up, in a fun, jolly way, but he’s a big guy and he’s been drinking.
“He hit me really hard there [points at chest]. Hard enough to leave a massive handprint. And I’m sitting there chatting, relaxing for the first time in a few weeks and he came up behind me and hit me.
“He did it to a few people, but I didn’t really enjoy it.
“So I left it for a few minutes because I was smoking. I was so angry.
“I left him for a few minutes, calmed down, then took him aside and said, ‘Look, I know we’re having a good time and that, but I don’t really appreciate that. . I think it’s disrespectful, don’t do it again. And that was good, me and Maro were fine.
” Well [Te’0] being the liquidator that he is, kind of cottoned on about it, and then for the rest of the time he decided he would try to liquidate me. And he had had a few too. He likes his drink.
” He continued [motions a pushing gesture with hands], ‘You ain’t gonna do nothing, you ain’t gonna do nothing. A tough guy on the pitch,” just messing around.
“There was a case where he [Te’0] was trying to do it and he fell on this table and spilled a load of drinks.
At that point, two young English recruits – and Brown’s teammates at Harlequins – tried to smooth things over.
“Joe Marchant and Alex Dombrandt, who were new to the environment at the time, just stood up and said, ‘Ben, what are you doing? Leave him alone. We’re just trying to relax.
“I don’t think he liked it because they were two young guys and it hurt him a bit. He left and I think he was a little annoyed because he was stopped by two young boys.
“So we left, at the beginning of the evening, at the end of the afternoon, we all walked back because we always left as a team to get on the bus.
“I hear it in front of me with a bunch of guys. There are a few of us and then there’s a big group and he says ‘I’m going to knock him out on the bus, I’m going to do this to him, I’m going to do this to him’.
“I was like ‘Te’o, I was standing right behind you. What’s your problem?’
“I walk and he comes back to me and we meet and he just swung at me. He pinches me well [points to brow]. He is also skilled with his fists. He spends more time boxing on the side of the field than training on it,” laughed Brown. “Anyone who knows Te’o knows he’s not the greatest coach.
“He’s done a lot of boxing and he’s a big lad and he cut me well. We just kind of got together and everyone dove and broke.
“I didn’t go near him. By the time he threw it, to use the rally, everyone was in there, separating us. That’s basically what happened.
Head coach Eddie Jones blamed both players for the incident, a fact that still angers Brown.
“Eddie didn’t appreciate that. It was really too bad. He tried to make it the reason I wasn’t going to the World Cup. He didn’t talk to me from the moment it happened… I felt a little disappointed because few guys said ‘Mike didn’t really do much. It was at the instigation of other people.
“I didn’t feel like anyone was really supporting me. People were taking care of themselves because it was close to a World Cup and I kind of understand that.
“That’s not the reason why I didn’t participate in the World Cup. I think it was just easier for Eddie to put it on there, because I kind of got kicked off the team over the season.
“Then a few days later when he calls people to say they’re not involved, he kind of puts it on it. I was like, ‘Look, I understand selection is what it is. , but don’t put it on it [the fight]. You didn’t even ask me what happened.
“With all due respect, I really didn’t do anything. I don’t feel like it was my fault, I hadn’t had a lot to drink, two drinks or anything. There were people in worse shape than me and I was just trying to mind my own business.
“So he [Eddie Jones] just lit and lit on me, scary and blinding. It wasn’t nice. Just be a man and say what’s the reason I’m not chosen. Don’t try to put it on there, because that’s not it. It’s pretty clear and obvious that it’s not that.
“I asked him to tell me what he thought happened and he said, ‘My security people were there, they told me what happened.
“I said, let me see what they said, because he said he wrote reports. He wouldn’t give me that. He said, ‘Who do you think you are for?’ because I was coming back to him and he doesn’t like it.
“It’s a shame it ended like this. I wanted clarification on why I wasn’t chosen, not some made up excuse.
Brown says he has no major grudge against Te’o, who was a friend of his until the incident.
“With Ben Te’o, it was fine. It’s like that. It’s happening on social media. I didn’t think he would be like this being good friends with him. It’s not like I blame him. And that’s not the reason why I didn’t go to the World Cup.
Brown and Hamilton joked that Itoje’s initial hit was the real reason for the collapse.
“When I faced him [Itoje] about what he was doing, he stopped and he was fine. It’s like that.
“I haven’t done enough this season. I didn’t quite do what Eddie wanted to see… It’s just a shame it ended like this. And it came out in the press that that was the reason you’re not going and you’re not and then my name is tarnished.
“It’s the hardest thing. Everyone sees this story, and at that point you don’t think you can really get your point across and say what happened because there’s still a glimmer of hope that someone may get hurt and you may be called.
“Just take it on the chin and shut up.”
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