Scotland rugby captain Kelly Brown has admitted he will be playing partly for bragging rights back at his club during tomorrow’s EMC Autumn Test against South Africa at Murrayfield.
The 30-year-old is a member of Saracens who have a strong Springbok influence, including Schalk Brits, among the opposition substitutes tomorrow and John Smit who led South Africa to a World Cup win in 2007. “I’d certainly walk back into the dressing room with a smile and my head held high,” said Brown.
He added: “There’s always a bit of banter and that will be especially the case with so many South Africans.
“After Scotland finished bottom of the Six Nations last year (which Brown missed through injury) I was presented with a wooden spoon back at the club by our Italian prop, Carlos Nieto.”
Brown has even joked that he has picked up some Afrikaans from his team-mates.
“Unfortunately, though, the only words I know in Afrikaans seem to be swear words!”
Brown has a particularly high regard for hooker Schalk Brits who was one of the architects of Saracens’ 45-0 whitewash of Edinburgh in the Heineken European Cup recently.
“Brits is an incredible player,” he said. “As a friend I would love him to play against us. I know what it means to him to play for the Springboks and he has not done it in a long time
“As an opponent I hope he stays in his substitute’s suit on the bench.”
Brown was most intent on emphasising the fact that Scotland can expect an improvement on form shown when going down 22-51 to New Zealand last week.
“One thing I was incredibly pleased with was our energy and workrate,” he added. “The guys worked incredibly hard and from now it is just little bits of detail that we need to nail down.
“A lot of rust came out and that was going to happen in the first match.
“The workrate, energy and intensity was very good We can build on that.
“The Springboks are reasonably large. I’ve played against them quite a few times in the past.
“They have a very, very good kicking game, they are very physical and they have a few quite smart starter plays they will look to use to put us under a bit of pressure.
“I have no doubt they will look to take us on up front but also when it is on they will look to move it as any side would.
“We need to be as physical as we possibly can and stand up to the challenge.”