KELLY Brown was in the strange situation yesterday of looking and acting like a captain, but still being unsure of whether he will lead Scotland in the forthcoming RBS Six Nations Championship.
He was asked to accompany Scott Johnson to the tournament launch in Putney, but Johnson insisted that he was waiting for a final meeting with his coaching team this weekend before deciding whether Brown would continue as skipper from the autumn, or the honour be handed to someone else.
“We haven’t named a captain,” he explained. “We weren’t asked to do it and I had a new coaching team in place and the coaches hadn’t met Kelly, so we’re doing the process right and I need to give my coaching staff some input into that selection.
“Let’s be fair. I don’t know the squad that well yet either, so I want to do the process correctly before we announce the captaincy. When we come back as a coaching team over the weekend we’ll discuss it, name the team, name the captain and get on with it.”
It is likely that Brown is at the front of Johnson’s mind, but Scotland did not wish to announce their captain in London and so would have had to have done so on Monday, when the squad was having its first training session together, for it to be confirmed before yesterday.
Brown certainly is ready for the challenge and, intriguingly, he has a new mindset from his time with leading English club Saracens that could be crucial in helping Scotland to believe that they could create a bit of history and win at Twickenham for the first time in 30 years.
Asked why he felt it had been so long since a Scottish win at the old cabbage patch, Brown said: “I can only really speak about the matches I’ve been involved in, and it’s as simple as we haven’t played for the full 80 minutes.
“We’ve shown over the last four, five six years that when we nail a high level of performance for the full 80 minutes, we can beat anyone, so it’s about making sure when we come down here that we do that.
“I do feel that since I’ve been down here I’ve learned a lot, and especially that real knowledge about how to win games. Obviously, with Saracens we win a lot of games, and there’s a balance to be struck [with passion and cold-headedness]. If you come down here all fire and brimstone, then I’d imagine you’ll get stuffed, so it’s about making sure that we find that balance. We need to play with passion but it’s about making sure we bring that fire and also up top are very cool and are making the right choices.
“Every time that we go out and play we want to go for it, have a go, but it’s making sure we can nail a high level of performance for the full 80 minutes, making sure our standards are up there for the whole match.”