Rugby: Brown can’t wait to work with new boss

Kelly Brown. Picture: SNS
Kelly Brown. Picture: SNS
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Scotland captain Kelly Brown has backed Vern Cotter to have a major impact on the national team when he takes over as head coach next year.

The Scottish Rugby Union confirmed Cotter’s appointment yesterday but he will not take over until June 2014, when his contract with Clermont 
Auvergne expires.

The wait means Scott Johnson will have served 18 months as interim head coach when he steps aside to fully focus on his new role as SRU director of rugby.

Cotter, 51, led Clermont to the European Challenge Cup in his first season in charge and the French title in 2010 after a hat-trick of second-placed finishes.

The SRU held back its announcement until 
Clermont’s season finished and the news was welcomed by Brown.

He said: “I think it’s great. As we showed in the Six Nations we are a side on the up.

“If you look at the teams he has been involved with, they are very strong. I’m sure when he comes in he will add a lot.

“They (Clermont) are one of the top sides in Europe so for us to actually get a guy like that is exciting.

“As a player it’s a massive boost that guys like that want to come and work with us. I’m sure he will add a lot to the squad.”

SRU chief executive Mark Dodson said: “Vern is rightly regarded as one of the top coaches in the world and to have secured someone of his calibre is a coup for Scotland.

“He was our first choice as head coach and we are pleased to have secured him on a two-year contract taking us up to and beyond the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.

“We did our business with Vern some months ago and we believe we have the best man for the role with our national team. It’s a measure of our standing that we have him on board.”

In the meantime, Brown (pictured left) is keen for the Scots to build on their RBS 6 Nations campaign when they face hosts South Africa, Samoa and Italy in next month’s four-team international tournament.

The Saracens flanker said: “We said over the Six Nations that we just want to improve and to show a lot of signs of that and I thought we did.

“We won a couple of games and I would say we were in all of the games, apart from the first game when we were a bit rusty. It was exciting and I’m absolutely desperate to keep on building. That’s what we will look to do as a squad.

“I think it’s going to be tough but we go there upbeat and we are really looking forward to it.

“Our first two games are against sides who are ranked above us. In saying that, we back our chances and we look forward to it.”

Johnson named nine uncapped players in his 31-man squad for the tournament Brown added: “I’ve been lucky enough to be in the squad a long time and it’s always 
exciting when new guys come in.

“It will be great to see how those guys get on.

“It’s a challenge for them but I’m sure, when they get a chance, they will do well.

“Myself and other guys who have been in the squad will do anything we can to help them.

“But they are all good young players and I’m sure they are more than up for the challenge.”