Fraser Brown targets Scotland return in World Cup warm-ups

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Scotland hooker Fraser Brown is still confident he will be able to play some part in the summer warm-up Tests and be on the plane to the Rugby World Cup in Japan in September.

The Glasgow forward has had surgery on his left foot after being injured in the Guinness Pro14 final against Leinster at Celtic Park last month but national coach Gregor Townsend, pictured, said that he was optimistic he would have his second-choice hooker available in time.

“If I was ready to play in any of the warm-up games it would be nice but at the moment I am taking it week by week,” said Brown at BT Murrayfield yesterday at the Johnnie Walker sponsorship announcement.

“As we get further into the summer it will be a case of seeing where we are and going on from there.”

Townsend’s side will play France in Nice on Saturday 17 August and the French will visit Edinburgh the following Saturday. Georgia away on 31 August comes next before the second meeting with the eastern Europeans at home on Friday 6 September.

Townsend stressed at last week’s training camp in Inverness that he would be happy to take Brown, 30, who is the main back-up to Edinburgh and Calcutta Cup skipper Stuart McInally, even if he doesn’t manage to feature at all in August and the start of September. Scotland’s first pool match is against Ireland in Yokohama on 22 September.

“If I was making any of the warm-up games it would be the third or the fourth,” continued Brown. “Gregor hasn’t put any extra burden on me at this stage and it’s a case of me doing my rehab and seeing how I get on through the summer. That is still the target for me, to be there or thereabouts for the last couple of warm-up games.”

The 42-times capped hooker looked in some pain when he went down in that 18-15 loss to Leinster at Parkhead with initial fears it was a knee injury, something which has affected him in the past. “It was surrounding my foot, surrounding my toes,” he clarified.

“It was my big toe and the next one and I had a ligament problem in them.

“When I went down in the final people thought I had done my knee, my ankle, my foot.

“Initially I was just thinking about the game. It was a vital game for us, the final, so I was genuinely gutted for that. Sometimes when you do things you think you can play on for a little but I knew I couldn’t there because it was pretty sore.

“I was gutted to have to go off because of the importance of the game, it was something we had been building towards.

“Once I got diagnosed and maybe by the middle of the week my mind turned to the time frame for the World Cup.”

Another complicating factor was having to cancel a planned post-season holiday with his wife in Croatia.

“I got operated the day after the event. We were going to go to Dubrovnik for a couple of weeks,” said Brown with a slight grimace.

“It was meant to be a walking around holiday so I wouldn’t be able to do that.

“We will get away at the end of July for a week.” The life of a professional sportsman can take unexpected turns, which Brown acknowledged with a chuckle.

“The only thing she was adamant that we couldn’t postpone was our wedding. Other than that, she knows that things get moved about.

“When you get an injury and it feels quite bad you always initially think what the worst-case scenario could be. If you build yourself up to that and then pull it back when you get the diagnosis.

“If you were thinking it is just a couple weeks and then you find out it will be four or five, that can be quite difficult to deal with. I’ve been to Japan twice. My under-20s World Cup [in 2009] was in Japan and then I was there in 2016 [on the summer tour]. I’m looking forward to going back.”