IT'S TIME TO SAY GOODBYE - 3. Kelly Brown
June 26 2017
Kelly David Robert Brown was born on 8th June 1982 in Edinburgh. His older brother Rowan represented Scottish schools at rugby and Kelly followed in his big brother’s footsteps. He attended Earlston High school and went on to study Sports Science at Edinburgh University. His prowess was noted at a young age and he was selected to represent Borders at Under 15, 16, 18, 19 and 20 (not sure what happened to 17!) He also represented Scotland at under 16, under 18, under 19 (including 4 games in the 2001 World Championships in Chile) & under 21 level (playing 15 times including a victory over England in 2003). His leadership abilities were noticed early on and he was chosen to captain Scottish Schools in their last game against Spain in 2000.
He started his career with the amateur club Melrose before moving to Border Reivers in 2005. His first season with Border Reivers brought him to the notice of the newly-appointed Scotland coach Frank Hadden. His first appearance was in the non-cap international against the Barbarians in the summer of 2005 followed by his first full international cap against Romania where he scored a try on debut. He also represented Scotland in the IRB sevens tournaments in New Zealand, USA and Hong Kong. By the time Border Reivers disbanded in 2007, Kelly had played for them 71 times (scoring 47 points). In his final season, he won Scotland Players’ Player of the Year. He made his first start in a 6 Nations Game against England in 2007 and also represented Scotland in the World Cup in France, coming off the bench to score a try against Portugal.
He was signed by Glasgow Warriors and played for them until 2010 – 62 appearances scoring 4 tries. He formed a superb partnership “the Killer “B’s” with John Barclay and Johnnie Beattie for both club & country. He then moved south and joined Saracens, replacing Wikus Van Heerden, the South African back-rower who had decided to return home. In his first season with the club he was an important part of a powerful Back Row and won the Premiership Title – part of that heroic defence that held out Leicester Tigers for 9 minutes at the end of the game. Off the pitch, Kelly was troubled by a stammer. Before moving to Saracens he realised it was significantly impeding his progress and he decided to enrol on the McGuire Programme where he learned techniques to manage his stammer and take control of his life. He said “It’s quite funny, when I first went on the McGuire course, I found out that I didn’t know enough words because I had spent 27 years saying the words I could say. Then, suddenly, I could pretty much say the words I wanted to. I’m still a stammerer and I always will be a stammerer, but now most of the time I’m in control of my stammer as opposed to it being in control of me.”
He was in the form of his life but a dislocated fibula sustained against Italy ruled him out of the national team until October 2012. It had been a long struggle for Kelly – he was well equipped to captain his country in every way – except for the Public Speaking. Kelly convinced manager Andy Robinson that he had what it takes to handle the role of captain and he won his 50th cap as Captain, against New Zealand.
Kelly won a further 14 caps for Scotland until he was replaced after 55 minutes in the defeat by Ireland in 2014. That was to be his final appearance for his country and manager Scott Johnson dropped him from the match day squad for the following game against England. Instead, after some initial misgivings, he bravely decided to appear on a BT Sport Panel. He said “I lost the Scotland captaincy but I found my voice”. However, he wasn’t bitter, he said “To be able to captain my country, I feel very lucky to have done that. I loved every minute I got to play for Scotland”.
Kelly was a member of the Saracens team which lost to Northampton in 2014 but missed out on selection for the victories over Bath in 2015 and Exeter in 2016. By now his appearances in the match day squad were less frequent although in his final season, injuries to George Kruis and Maro Itoje meant he found himself often on the bench. Kelly became a regular member of the LV squad (appearing in the 2015 Final-winning team as a substitute), and the Saracens Storm Team where increasingly he began mentoring the younger players. Perhaps it was inevitable that for him, life after rugby would involve coaching at it was announced in April that he would retire from rugby at the end of the season to become Academy Coach. He said “"I've been incredibly fortunate I've got to do the job I love for 13 seasons. I'm still in good shape, so I could have carried on playing, but coaching is something I've been doing a lot of over the last couple of seasons. It’s a fantastic opportunity and one I’m very excited about”.
On his last appearance at Allianz Park, he was invited to say a few words. Characteristically he decided to sing (he’s always had a good singing voice) and launched into Bon Jovi’s “Always” unaccompanied on the pitch. Apparently that night his family all turned up in Kelly Brown masks at his home!
Additionally this summer it was announced Kelly will spend a few months in Canada as defence coach for the tests against George, Romania and the USA.
Kelly Brown was for many weeks the butt of Jim Hamilton’s jokes on his Rugby Pod Pod Podcast. If Jim was to be believed, he was charged a fortune to lodge with the Browns, plus extra for his steak! Inevitably Kelly got his own back – appearing as a special guest on the podcast and setting the facts right!
Kelly Brown, along with Jim Hamilton and Stuart Hogg get a mention in J K Rowling’s Pottermore series where they are suspected of being “Talented Squibs”. (For those who do not follow Harry Potter, a squib is a wizard-born child with no magical powers). In a quote from the web page, JK states:- “Shortly after Angus’ death, the wizarding supporters of the Scottish Rugby Union (WSSRU) was set up in his memory by his devoted fans. They meet on the eve of every Scotland International match to toast Angus’ memory. The International Statue of Secrecy expressly forbids wizards to participate in muggle sport, however the WSSRU are often suspected of trying to smuggle a talented Squib onto to every team. Current suspects include Kelly Brown (possible cousin of Lavender’s), Jim Hamilton (strong resemblance to Hagrid) and Stuart Hogg (enough said).”
Maybe Kelly has another career in Quidditch?
Finally, if you want a happy memory of Kelly , here is Car Pool with Kelly Brown and Jim Hamilton! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYGQOwXgUfopqs: qs:
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:07:20:20:05:53 by Darraghgirl.
Nous sommes l'armée noir et rouge !
Park team from London
Just a park team from London
Just European champions
European champions 2016 & 2017