Six Nations: Brown relaxed on Scotland captaincy

MODEST Scotland skipper Kelly Brown admits the nation’s best RBS 6 Nations campaign in recent memory might still not be enough to see him hold on to the captaincy.

The Saracens flanker was first given the role for last year’s autumn internationals, but the honour turned into a personal nightmare with defeats to New Zealand, South Africa and, most alarmingly, Tonga.

But caretaker coach Scott Johnson’s first act after taking over from the departed Andy Robinson was to confirm the 30-year-old would hold onto the armband for the championship opener with England.

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Scotland lost that game too but wins over Italy and Ireland handed the Dark Blues their first set of back-to-back triumphs since 2001.

Brown will now hope to become the first Scottish skipper since Gary Armstrong to lead the nation to victory in Paris when they take on France tonight. However, even with the Scots on course for their best Six Nations display since 2006, Brown claims that he has no idea if he will still be captain when the team heads to South Africa for a four-team tournament in the summer.

He said: “There’s no doubt, winning makes things significantly more enjoyable. So I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed being captain.

“As everybody knows, I didn’t get off to the best of starts as skipper in the autumn, but I’ve enjoyed working with Scott and the rest of the coaches and all of the boys in the squad.

“There is no doubt the more games you get under your belt as captain, the more experience you pick up, but I’ve got no idea what’s going to happen in the future. I just need to make sure after the championship I go back to Saracens and keep doing well. If I keep doing that, hopefully I’ll be in the squad for South Africa.”

Scotland will run out at the Stade de France with the aim of recording their third victory in a single Six Nations campaign for only the second time in seven years.

Their opponents, by contrast, have just one point to their name after opening the tournament with defeats to Italy, Wales and England before last week’s 13-13 draw with Ireland in Dublin.

Brown now expects the fiercest of early assaults from the hosts as they look to make up for a miserable campaign in front of their demanding home support.

But the former Glasgow man believes another staunch display - perhaps similar to the one which so frustrated Ireland in their surprise 12-8 defeat at Murrayfield last month - could yet turn the fickle Parisian crowd against the fragile French squad.

He said: “It’s been a really positive campaign. Whatever happens tomorrow, it will be our best finish since 2006, so that is a good sign but we want to make sure this is a long-term change in fortune.

“We need to start well. There’s no doubt the French are a wounded animal. They will come out and absolutely fire into us.

“They have picked a massive team so they want to batter us, clearly.

“If we start well, we can put them under a bit of pressure. If we can do that, the crowd will turn against them and we can use that as a bit of a weapon.

“We’re looking to meet fire with fire at the start. The French have not won yet in this championship so there is no doubt that if we begin positively, that will sow the seeds of doubt.”