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Northampton 19:45 Gloucester

Conor O'Shea paid triubute to Mike Brown after Harlequins regained top spot

Last Updated: 04/11/12 7:50am

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Mike Brown gathers in a high ball during an impressive display

Mike Brown gathers in a high ball during an impressive display

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Director of rugby Conor O'Shea was full of praise for full-back Mike Brown after Harlequins returned to the top of the table with a 28-25 victory over Gloucester.

Quins went into the match without skipper Chris Robshaw, winger Ugo Monye, scrum-half Danny Care and prop Joe Marler, all on duty with England.

But Brown, who was released from the England training camp this weekend, scored the opening try and Nick Easter led the side ably in Robshaw's absence.

O'Shea said: "I thought the lads really stepped up. Nick is an outstanding leader and Brown reacted phenomenally in the way he played tonight. His involvement in the game was huge.

"He's absolutely outstanding in the fundamentals of full-back play. He scores tries, he takes responsibility.

"I hope he gets the opportunity to play at home in a Test match from the start over these next few weeks.

"I'm not saying anything against Ben Foden, who is a great player - injured - and Alex Goode, in outstanding form, but Mike Brown for two years has been absolutely the best full-back in the country."

Gloucester managed a late try and O'Shea added: "We were frustrated to give them a (losing) bonus point at the end of the game but we are not arrogant enough to think any game is easily won.

"Having beaten Gloucester, who are the form side, we are pretty happy with where we are."

Nigel Davies, the Gloucester rugby director, said: "I'm disappointed because we didn't play particularly well but I'm very proud of how well the boys fought. The spirit in this team is great.

"The third try just before half-time was a killer but Quins are a good team - I like the way they play. Not many teams will come here and get a result."

We keep fighting

Gloucester salvaged their late point despite the sin-binnings of Shane Monahan and Ben Morgan, and Davies added: "Most teams' heads would have dropped when they went down to 14 men.

"Although we lost I think we put a marker down again. We never give up, we keep fighting.

"I was disappointed we didn't play enough with the ball. In fairness to Harlequins, they took their opportunities."

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