Apr 11, 2017
Kelly Brown: A Career
One of the most experienced members of the Saracens squad and the rugby fraternity, Kelly Brown, has today announced his retirement from the professional rugby. As he embarks on a new chapter with Saracens as academy coach, we reflect on the career of one of a giant of the professional era.
Before his success-laden seven years at Sarries, Brown began his career in the Scottish Borders. Having been born in Edinburgh, he grew up in Earlston, playing youth rugby at Melrose RFC. After graduating with a Sports Science degree from Edinburgh University, Brown’s senior career began with the now defunct Border Reviers in 2005. It was while playing here where he earned his first of 64 international caps in the same year against Romania in Bucharest during a 39-19 win. He went on to play for the Galashiels based Reveirs 71 times in two years before the club was cut from the Scottish professional roster in budget cuts.
In the pre-season of the 2007/08 season, Brown joined Glasgow Warriors. He made 62 appearances in three seasons with the Warriors before joining Sarries in 2010. During his time with Warriors he established his place as one of the top back-row players in the Northern Hemisphere. Brown formed one part of a formidable ‘Killer-B’ back-row trio with Johnnie Beattie and John Barclay for both Glasgow and Scotland. He was named 2007 SRPA player of the year and represented his nation at that year’s World Cup, making five appearances and scoring a try against Portugal.
It was during this period where he made the move to North London. It began successfully as the persistent and tireless flanker played a key role in Saracens’ 2011 Premiership triumph. That same year he was an important part of Scotland’s 2011 World Cup campaign in New Zealand. He made three appearances for the Scots, suffering disappointment as they exited at the group stage. Brown returned to Sarries in scintillating form as he formed part of a new back-row trio alongside Jacques Burger and Ernst Joubert.
The then 29-year-old missed the best part of 2012 through injury before leading Scotland out as captain for the first time on the occasion of his 50th cap against the All Blacks in the autumn internationals. Brown went on to make 14 further appearances as skipper, his final outings for Scotland coming during the 2014’s summer internationals. From then, he enjoyed great success at Allianz Park, forming part of the squads that won both the 2015 Premiership and the famous English and European double in 2016.
Off the field, Brown has been coaching the Royal Navy rugby team in recent months and his experience will prove crucial as he embarks on his coaching career within the club’s academy. He is also a graduate of the McGuire Programme for the treatment of stammers and has proven a role-model for other people with stammers. Having embraced his stammer and accepted his position; Brown proved a natural leader on the pitch, inspiring teammates and pushing every team he played in to greater levels. After over 100 appearances for Sarries, he will be remembered fondly by fans and teammates alike for his never-say-die attitude and amicable persona, we wish him all the best as he embarks on a new chapter in his life and career.