Edinburgh winger Tom Brown: it was easy decision to stay
It cannot be easy convincing ambitious young professionals to jump into bed with a team which sits ninth in the Guinness Pro12 table, has not managed to finish in the top half of the league in the last seven years, and does not yet have a confirmed coaching structure for next season.
But if anyone can charm a sceptic into believing that things are just about to get a whole lot better at Edinburgh then it is the amiable Brown. The 26-year-old makes it sound like the most natural thing in the world that he would want to commit himself for another two seasons to his hometown club.
“Edinburgh is a really exciting team to be involved with at the moment, there is a lot of young talent coming through – many of them are in their breakthrough year, and week-on-week they are gaining more experience and they will take that into the years ahead – so I am excited about that,” enthuses the winger, who has scored 17 tries in 104 appearances for Edinburgh.
“This is the club I wanted to stay at and to be honest I didn’t look elsewhere. This is home for me and it is always an absolute honour to pull on the jersey. For me it was an easy decision.”
Brown is clearly an optimist, but he is not a fantasist – and he recognises that big improvements will have to be made in performances and results sooner rather than later if the club is ever going to escape from the shadow of its high-achieving sibling at the other end of the M8.
Making it into the top six by the end of this campaign and qualifying for the European Champions Cup next season is almost certainly not going to happen, but a strong end to the season will go a long way to convincing potential recruits that Edinburgh is not a complete basket case.
“In terms of this year, we are not sitting where we would like in the league so our focus now is to start creeping up that table. We have had a disrupted campaign, but it is not a case of waiting for next season and then starting again, we want to creep up that table now,” he says.
“We did really well to top a tough European Challenge Cup pool and get out of it, and we’ve got the quarter-final against La Rochelle to focus on, but we also know how important the league is, so week-in and week-out we are looking to get results.
“We know how much potential we have, we have a strong future. It is now about achieving something and getting into finals and not just going through the motions.”
Brown is the second full Scotland cap to commit to the club this week, after centre Mark Bennett agreed to make the switch from Glasgow Warriors on a three-year deal on Tuesday. Prop Rory Sutherland, another internationalist, put pen to paper on a contract extension last week.
“We are making some good signings for next season. I have seen the way Bennett plays and it will be an exciting backline. He will fit into the way we are trying to play. We want to play an attacking brand. It is slowly getting there,” says Brown.
His unbridled enthusiasm for every task he takes on gives Brown a youthful quality, but at 26 years of age his is no longer one of the young pups in the side and he says he is looking forward to taking on more of a leadership role. If some of this positivity can rub off on his team-mates in the weeks and months ahead, that can only be a good thing.
“I do feel that I am making the transition into being a senior player,” says Brown. “For me on the wing it is difficult to influence the key decision-makers at nine and 10, but I focus on the back three and I enjoy working with Damien Hoyland and Blair Kinghorn.”