Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Brown aims to overcome stammer

Kelly Brown has refused to let his stammer impede his job as Scotland captain in the RBS 6 Nations.

The Saracens flanker revealed he has a daily morning breathing exercise routine to keep his speech problem at bay.

The 31-year-old admitted his stuttering hit a low point in 2010, since when he has battled to bring the problem under control.

Brown faces a tussle with Glasgow openside flanker Chris Fusaro for Scotland's number seven shirt.

Caretaker head coach Scott Johnson has admitted form, not the captaincy, will win Brown his place in Scotland's starting line-up.

Ready to nail down the seven berth for the tournament opener against Ireland in Dublin on February 2, Brown said :"I find I don't stammer when I shout, and I tend to shout quite a lot on the pitch.

"I know it's part of me and all of the players know it's something I'm working on.

"It's something I will continue to work on and I work on every single day.

"I get up in the morning and I do my breathing exercises. But I know if I can do that and I can put in the work, I know that most of the time I'll be in control of my speech.

"In the 2010 Six Nations I was asked if I could do an interview right at the start, and it was so bad that I actually phoned and asked if that interview could never be shown.

"That was really the final straw, I said, 'right I need to do something about this'.

"I never wanted my stammer to be an excuse for why I couldn't do something.

"From that day I've gone away and worked hard. It's still there and it probably always will be."

Scotland coach Johnson paid tribute to his captain's tenacity in keeping his speech in check.

"I've been asked what inspires me, and it's people who overcome some kind of adversity," said Johnson.

"This kid's an inspiration, to do that.

"It's not a massive adversity compared to others, granted, but to stand up in front of people every day and for him to speak, that inspires me, it's a good thing."

Worcester prop Euan Murray cut his thumb chopping wood at a club barbecue, potentially ruling him out of the tournament.

The experienced tighthead was still battling back from a leg problem picked up in November, and Johnson admitted he will be a miss.

"Euan, who knows what props do with their thumbs anyway, so we'll look at that," said the Scotland boss.

"We'd like him back and he is significant for us, but it just gives others opportunity. I can only assume that's the case.

"On a serious note we'll find out what the extent of the damage is.

"He had a long lay-off and was coming back from injury anyway, so we'll just have to see how he's coming along."

Scotland will keep on blooding new caps across the Six Nations, said Johnson.

"We'll always make sure they are equipped to do it physically: we don't want to go to a gunfight with a water pistol," he said.

Clermont coach Vern Cotter arrives in the summer to head up Scotland's management team.

Johnson will work under Cotter and is encouraged by the continuity - a fact he feels others tend to disregard.

"I'm still here come the summer, people forget that," he said. "I'm here now and I'll still be here then.

"I had a choice of a position, and I chose to be part of this organisation moving forward. We've been talking with Vern and I'm looking forward to working with him more closely: it will be nice to have help arriving."


From Belfast Telegraph