Rugby Union

Mike Brown has given his backing to the dismissed Dave Tennison.

Mike Brown offers backing to sacked England kitman Dave Tennison

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England full-back Mike Brown has launched a passionate defence of the team's kitman Dave Tennison, who has been dismissed by the RFU for recommending oil shares to some of the players.

Tennison was sacked after some of England's World Cup squad lost money on his tip to buy shares in oil drilling firm LGO Energy.

The company's shares were worth ?3.27 in June but dropped to ?1.30 in September and have since fallen further to 42p.

The 55-year-old, who had been England's kitman for 13 years, is contesting the RFU's decision and the appeals process is currently ongoing.

Brown was not one of the players involved, insisting, "I'm too tight for that sort of thing", but he has been unhappy that the story was leaked, claiming last month he had lost trust in his team-mates.

The full-back is disappointed Tennison was fired and dismissed suggestions the issue may have been a distraction during the World Cup.

"He was brilliant, a great guy," Brown said.

"His work ethic was second to none, he was always willing to help at any time - in the day, the night, early in the morning.

"He was always working extremely hard. It's a shame to see him go, he's a great guy to have around. It's a shame.

"You never want to see anyone lose their job - I don't know the ins and outs so I can't really comment on that.

"All I know is he's a great guy, he worked massively hard in his job and was proud to be representing England in his way.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with him."

Brown has been one of England's most consistent performers over the last two years and his straight-talking personality has led to suggestions he could be a contender to replace Chris Robshaw as captain under new boss Eddie Jones.

Joe Launchbury and Tom Wood are also thought to be in the running if Jones decided to take the captaincy off Robshaw, but Brown offered his backing to the current skipper.

He added: "You don't really think about things like that, you just want to get in the team and at the moment Chris Robshaw is the England captain until Eddie says otherwise. He's done a brilliant job up to this point.

"Obviously being a captain of any team is a great honour and you're flattered if someone asks you to be a captain of their team.

"They must think highly of you if they want you to do that job. It would be great to be asked for Quins or whoever."

Jones was due to begin work in his new role on Tuesday but the Australian has been unable to arrive in England as his visa application is yet to be approved. RFU officials remain confident the issue will be resolved in a matter of days.

The former Japan boss spoke in his opening press conference about establishing a stronger identity for the team but it remains unknown how the new head coach will want his side to play.

Brown said: "With this group of players we could play whichever way we wanted to.

"We've got some amazingly skilful players - young guys and more experienced guys - but also we've got the set piece and the forward base if we need to tighten up as well.

"We've got players that can adapt to any style. If you look through the Premiership there's many different styles in the teams. Whatever way Eddie wants us to play, we can do it."

England have announced next year's autumn line-up, which will include South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and Australia as part of the Old Mutual Wealth Series.

England will also take on Wales in a capped match at Twickenham on Sunday, May 29 for the Old Mutual Wealth Cup.

"You gain confidence from beating these top teams in the world. It will show where we stand," Brown added.

"I honestly believe, even though we got knocked out of the World Cup, we can beat the best teams in the world on our day."

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