Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Support not lacking for Brown

Kelly Brown is in line to be named Scotland captain

Kelly Brown will have plenty of places to turn for advice if named Scotland's fifth captain in two years by Andy Robinson on Wednesday.

Saracens back-row Brown, who has 49 caps, has been strongly tipped to be granted the honour having been in line for the role before suffering a broken leg ahead of the RBS 6 Nations, when Edinburgh hooker Ross Ford assumed the leadership.

Mike Blair, who has 83 caps and has led Scotland on 14 occasions, told Press Association Sport: "Whoever is captain will get a lot of support from guys around them."

With Brown available again, Ford's run of eight matches in charge could come to an end for the November 11 EMC Autumn Test with New Zealand. Lock Alastair Kellock, scrum-half Rory Lawson, Ford and scrum-half Blair have all held the role in the last two years.

Blair added: "There are guys within the team, within the squad, who have plenty of caps and experience. It's not so much a situation now where it's just one person. It is a group of people. There are multiple people involved in the leadership of the side."

Blair last led Scotland in the 49-3 November 2010 loss to the All Blacks. A strong start is crucial if Scotland are to claim a first win over New Zealand in over 100 years of trying.

Blair added: "Certainly the last two times we've played them, they've almost been out of sight within 15 minutes. The most important thing for us is how we perform in that first 10, 15, 20 minutes. We've got to keep those games close and once we get into those closing minutes it's about managing that situation."

Blair's performance, if selected at number nine, will be key against the All Blacks. Blair moved from Edinburgh to Brive in the summer and is enjoying life in France.

"It's exactly what I wanted from the move and we're adapting nicely to French life," he added. "I was injured for a month about a month ago, but I've played the last three weeks and I'm really enjoying it.

"It's been a real experience from a rugby side of things as well. The role of organisation is massive for scrum-halves and in France especially, so it's put a real emphasis on me learning my French so I can be able to boss round the lazy forwards."

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