December 6 2013 Latest news:
By Nick Wright
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Kelly Brown believes Saracens’ back-row is looking stronger than ever following the signing of Billy Vunipola from Wasps and Jacques Burger’s return to full fitness.
Bath are the visitors to Allianz Park on Sunday when the loose forward could make his return to competitive action after recovering from an ankle ligament injury sustained while on duty for Scotland against Samoa in the summer.
The 31-year-old will take his place on the bench for the top-of-the-table Aviva Premiership clash but faces a battle to force his way back into Sarries’ scrum.
In his absence Vunipola and Burger have both starred in the Hendon side’s opening two bonus point victories against London Irish and Gloucester.
The highly-rated Vunipola opened his try-scoring account in last week’s 44-12 romp past the Cherry and Whites, while Burger is hitting his stride again after 18 months on the sidelines with a near career-ending knee injury.
The Namibia international put in a man-of-the-match performance last weekend, despite having his head stamped on by Gloucester’s Nick Wood – an attack that saw the prop sent off after 73 seconds and subsequently banned for eight weeks.
With this wealth of back-row options at their disposal, Brown feels Saracens are well set for the long season ahead.
“I think it’s great,” he told London24. “Billy has come in and he’s got something a little bit different to all of the other guys in the back row in that he’s massive, which is awesome.
“Jacques played a couple of games last year but he wasn’t quite ready and now I think he looks as if he’s back, so I think it’s great.
“It’s a really long season and there are a lot of games and if we can have a strong pool of guys in the back row, we can mix and match, and you’ll get a bit of a rest every now and again. I think that’s got to be a good thing.”
However, with the autumn internationals approaching, the forward is hoping to get back in the swing of things for his club in order to resume his national service.
“Obviously, on a personal level, I want to keep on playing for Scotland, but all that starts from playing well for Saracens,” Brown said.
“I just want to play well. I think as everyone at Saracens does.
“We just want to play well and do our part, help the team to be successful and that is certainly the goal.”
Certainly he won’t want to repeat his last game for Saracens as their season came to an abrupt end with a shock 27-13 home defeat to Northampton Saints in the play-off semi-finals, having finished the regular campaign at the summit.
But this term they are back on top of the Premiership pile and Brown says there is a feel-good factor at the club.
“I think everyone at the club is really excited,” he explained. “We’ve not signed many guys but there are a few new guys here and they’ve come in and they’ve gelled well.”
He added: “Our squad is probably the strongest that it has been since I’ve been at the club, so in saying that you need to work for everything you get.
“We’ll just go from week to week and we’ll not make any long-term goals.
“It’s just about making sure that every week we do the necessary preparation, and we take each game as it comes. It’s a bit of a cliché but it’s actually true.”