Mike Brown: Harlequins and England full-back calls for better protection from officials

Harlequins' Mike Brown goes up for a high ball against Wasps
Despite the collision, Mike Brown (pictured second from right) helped Harlequins secure their fifth Premiership win of the season

Harlequins and England full-back Mike Brown says match officials are failing to protect players after claiming he could have broken his neck in an aerial collision in Saturday's win over Wasps.

Brown landed on his head, shoulders and arms after leaping into Josh Bassett as he attempted to catch a high ball.

The incident went unpunished by referee Craig Maxwell-Keys, despite replays on the big screens at Twickenham.

"They talk about protecting players but I wasn't protected there," said Brown.

"The referee says he couldn't see but there's a big screen up there to have a look.

"What's the point of me going up to catch a high ball if I'm not going to get protected because clearly he didn't compete for the ball?

"The referee may not have seen it but my family have seen that. It was a very poor call.

"I'm sure he'll see it when my family are in hospital because I've broken my neck. That sounds extreme, but I landed straight on my head."

Despite the collision, Brown carried on in the game but later said he was "feeling it".

"I have a sore neck and sore groin and dead leg where he's hit me," said Brown, who has been capped 72 times by England.

Quins boss Paul Gustard criticised both Bassett for the challenge and the officials for not penalising it.

"Mike was taken out in the air and 82,000 people saw someone landing on the top of his shoulders," Gustard said.

"The person underneath has a duty of care when competing for the ball. It was irresponsible and could have been a nasty accident. Thankfully Mike is OK."

Brown's fall was not the only controversial incident in the game, with Harlequins hooker Dave Ward sent to the sin-bin for a stamp on Thomas Young and also accused of spitting at the Wasps flanker.

On Sunday, Quins gave Ward a one-game ban for the stamp but cleared the hooker of spitting.

However, he may still be cited for either or both of the incidents, as well as a neck roll on Young which happened shortly before the altercation.

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