December 21 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Saracens flanker Kelly Brown is ready to leave the fate of the Heineken Cup in the hands of the rugby authorities and get on with the business of trying to win it.
The prestige European competition kicks off tomorrow night when Sarries travel to face Pool 3 Irish rivals Connacht.
This could be the last season when English and French club are involved in the tournament, as the governing bodies of both the Premiership and the Top 14 have announced their intentions to form a breakaway Rugby Champions Cup next term.
But as the off-the-pitch rhetoric looks set to rumble on, forward Brown intends to do his talking on the turf.
“I read all the articles about what is going to happen in European rugby but as players it’s not up to us to sort out,” the Scottish captain said.
“We need to leave it with the powers that be and just hope that some sort of solution can be found.
“There’s still a long time before next season and so, as a player, I’m not focusing on that. I’ll just leave that to the administrators to sort.”
Having lost seven times out of 12 Heineken Cup clashes against Irish side, Saracens last term beat Munster and Ulster last season.
It will be the first time Saracens have faced Connacht in the competition but Brown - who in 2010 moved to Sarries from RaboDirect Pro12 outfit Glasgow Warriors - is one man who will know all about trips to Galway.
“I’ve played there a few times over the years and it’s a very difficult place to go,” he said, adding: “It’s very open because it’s got a dog track around the pitch and the crowd are incredibly vocal, so there’s no doubt it will be a really tough challenge but we’re looking forward to it.
“We’ve watched the tapes of their first four or five matches in the Rabo and they are a very good side.
“They’ve got a new coaching team in place with Pat Lam in charge and they’ve signed a few really good players from the southern hemisphere.
“We are expecting a hell of a battle but we are looking forward to it and to getting the Heineken Cup started.”
Brown, who will start in the second row tomorrow night, returned from an ankle ligament injury as a replacement in the Premiership win against Bath a fortnight ago.
While he admits he’d love to be selected for Scotland’s forthcoming autumn internationals, he plans to on his club first and foremost.
“There’s no doubt I love playing for Scotland and I feel incredibly fortunate to have done it a lot of times in the past,” he said.
“It’s not up to me but I’ve got to keep playing as well as I can for Sarries and if I can do that I would hope the Scottish selection would take care of itself.
“I’ve started once and been on the bench twice [for Sarries]. It has been nice to ease back into things and to come back into a winning team where all the boys are upbeat.
“I’m feeling good and I’m just looking forward to picking up my form.
“There’s no doubt we are pretty happy with the way we’ve started the season [winning five out of five games in the Premiership].
“Saying that, we know we’ve got a lot of improvements to make and we are just working hard every week to try to become better.”