Mike Brown: France clash one of the hardest matches I've played in
Last Updated: 24/02/13 2:07pm
Mike Brown: England centre tussles with Vincent Clerc at Twickenham
England wing Mike Brown says the 23-13 victory over France at Twickenham was one of the hardest matches he has ever played in.
England kept their Grand Slam dream alive with their third straight victory in the tournament, and Brown admits they had to dig deep against a hugely physical French side.
The French led 10-9 at half-time thanks to Wesley Fofana's sensational solo try, but Manu Tuilgi's second-half score and the combined boots of Owen Farrell and Toby Flood got England home.
"There were so many big collisions. Louis Picamoles was a beast and Fofana's try was brilliant. He must be one of the best centres in the world by a long way."
"All Test matches are tough but this one was definitely up there," Brown said.
"They came at us right from the off and they are big boys. They got off the line hard, they put pressure on at the breakdown.
"We knew that was coming. Maybe we didn't deal with it that well in the first half but we put more pressure on them with our defence in the second half and I think that changed the game in the end.
"There were so many big collisions. Louis Picamoles was a beast and Fofana's try was brilliant. He must be one of the best centres in the world by a long way.
"We tried to stick to our game plan and we back our fitness. The guys who came on made a massive impact but everyone is putting their bodies on the line and being physical.
"We know we can take any team over a full 80 (minutes) and we showed that. We are certainly capable of achieving big things as a group, as long as we keep focusing and working hard.
"It is brilliant when you are winning but it's not hard to keep a lid on it because the culture we have got won't let us get ahead of ourselves.
"We won't be looking any further ahead than Italy in a few weeks which will be tough."