7 Jun, 15:39
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Since then the two teams, who are coached by two former Irish team mates Eric Elwood (Connacht) and Conor O'Shea (Harlequins), have become annual opponents. No two teams know each other as well as these two do.
"Every year since I joined Quins we've played Connacht. It has either been a pre-season friendly, an Amlin Challenge Cup or Heineken Cup tie," said Brown.
"We know jut how tough they are to play against, especially in Galway, and we don't expect Friday night to be any different. The atmosphere at the ground is always fantastic and the Irish teams always raise their game to try to beat an English side.
"We have got to aim for a quarter-final place and let's hope four points from a win will be good enough to get us there. But every time we go to Connacht it is a big battle because they are always competitive.
"They gave us a really tough game in the opening round of the Heineken Cup and we also played them twice in the Pool stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup last season. We got away with a six point win in Galway on that occasion."
If he plays on Friday night it will be Brown's sixth European clash with the Irish province and, he hopes, a sixth successive victory. He is also looking for one more try to overtake Jamie Williams and Daren O'Leary's club record of five tries in a Heineken Cup season.
Having started each of the five Pool games to date this season brown has picked up five tries - including two in the magnificent 31-24 triumph in Toulouse. Add the match winning score last weekend against Gloucester and it is easy to see why Brown is so highly rated at his club and, maybe, by his country in weeks to come.
"I'm a completely different player now to the one who was capped by England in South Africa in 2007 - faster, fitter and stronger. I've worked really hard on my game and Margot Wells and Conor O'Shea have really helped me to improve," said Brown.
"It has been difficult being on the outside of the England camp, but I turned it into a positive and worked really hard on my game. Now I'm back in the squad it is good having Ben Foden pushing me to improve further."
MIKE BROWN v CONNACHT IN EUROPE
20/10/2006 Amllin CC 1 Connacht 18 - 19 Harlequins
20/01/2007 Amllin CC 6 Harlequins 26 - 10 Connacht Try
12/12/2010 Amlin CC 3 Harlequins 20 - 9 Connacht Try
17/12/2010 Amlin CC 4 Connacht 9 - 15 Harlequins
11/11/2011 Heineken Cup 1 Harlequins 25 - 17 Connacht
MIKE BROWN IN THE HEINEKEN CUP THIS SEASON
11/11/2011 1 Harlequins 25 - 17 Connacht
19/11/2011 2 Gloucester 9 - 28 Harlequins Try
09/12/2011 3 Harlequins 10 - 21 Toulouse Try
18/12/2011 4 Toulouse 24 - 31 Harlequins Try (2)
14/01/2012 5 Harlequins 20 - 14 Gloucester Try