Mike Brown vs Israel Folau: Head to Head

How did the two full backs shape up at Twickenham?

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The Independent Online

Who looked the best going forward?

When Folau beat four tacklers running back a high ball, he gave himself the edge. A fine tackle by Courtney Lawes stopped a dangerous break early in the second half. Brown has not found his usual freedom, ball in hand, for club or country, but softer hands might have made a first-half try for Jonny May and his grub-kick set up Ben Morgan’s second try.

Who looked the best  in defence?

The first try stemmed directly from Folau’s knock-on, under no pressure, which gave England their attacking scrum. Generally the Australian was sound under the high ball and needed no second invitation to run back. Brown missed touch and conceded a penalty within two minutes midway through the first half, but later he made two fine tackles on Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Who offered the greater X factor?

Folau, recent winner of the John Eales Medal for best Australian player, is the more natural runner, but after his first, wonderful, season, are defenders working him out?

You feel a thrill every time his hands touch the ball and those long legs stride into action, whereas Brown has more of the artisan about him – and is none the worse for that. If you put your money on either man to achieve the unexpected, it would be Folau.

Who will make the bigger impact at the World Cup?

Brown has home advantage but must bring colleagues into play more. The attacking high ball is his meat and drink but he must link with his wings more, and no doubt will when he has a settled pair to work with. But only a fool would write Folau out of the global tournament – remember the turmoil in Australian rugby a month ago and think what Michael Cheika, as coach, can do given time.

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