Brown learning from the greats
February 22, 2013
Kelly Brown won his first match as Scotland captain against Italy © PA Photos
Scotland captain Kelly Brown was a relieved man following his side's 34-10 win over Italy in the last round of matches and now the flanker wants to take that form into their match with Ireland on Sunday.
Brown took on the captaincy for the autumn internationals, but a dispirited Scotland slumped to losses to New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga, defeats that signalled the end of Andy Robinson's tenure as head coach. Since then he has been picking the brains of others who have led out international teams, including 2007 World Cup winning captain, John Smit, one of his predecessors as Scotland skipper, Gary Armstrong and his club captain at Saracens, Steve Borthwick.
"I enjoy the role. Over the years I've been a senior player and it was a huge honour to be asked to take the captaincy," he said. "It didn't start how I would have liked but I am enjoying it and very proud to be captain of this team. We now need to make sure we make the nation proud on Sunday.
"I phoned a few former Scotland captains and I also had a chat with Steve Borthwick down at Saracens and a few others like John Smit, Jason White and Gary Armstrong, because I wanted to get their take on things.
"The Italy match gave us a really big lift, but it's only one game and we need to keep on working hard. As a player it is great that the nation are excited and proud of us and we need to take a bit of confidence from that win - but we also need to learn and keep on improving."
The 30-year-old will lead his side out at Murrayfield against an Ireland team that features five changes from the side that lost 12-6 at home to England in the last round of matches. Paddy Jackson has been brought in at fly-half, Luke Marshall in the centres and Donncha O'Callaghan has been added to the pack.
Scotland haven't beaten Ireland at Murrayfield since 2001 and Brown accepts that it will be a difficult task for them to end that run.
"There's no doubt Ireland will be hurting having lost their last match against England at home," he said. "Of the guys they have brought in, while they may not have a huge number of caps, this season they have all been playing incredibly well in the Heineken Cup, which is pretty much international standard, so we're expecting a very tough game.
"I've been watching Ulster play all year and there's no doubt that Paddy Jackson has been absolutely central to their success, so they are fortunate as a nation to have so many good stand-offs."
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