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Brown: I never considered quitting

Scotland captain Kelly Brown insists he never considered quitting international rugby on the back of being dropped by head coach Scott Johnson.

The Saracens flanker has played just 56 minutes of this season's RBS 6 Nations after he was axed from the Dark Blues side for his part in their miserable 28-6 defeat to Ireland in Dublin that kicked-off their tournament.

He was spared further humiliation as he sat out the 20-0 drubbing by England but was also absent for the last-gasp win over Italy in Rome two weeks ago, with Glasgow's Chris Fusaro chosen to start at number seven instead.

But the 31-year-old has now been restored to both the starting XV and the captaincy by head coach Scott Johnson for Saturday's Murrayfield clash with France.

Johnson admitted before that Calcutta Cup catastrophe that he feared Brown may walk away from Test rugby after his snub - but the Scotland skipper insists the thought never crossed his mind.

Asked if he considered retiring from national duty, he told Press Association Sport: "No - it's as simple as that. Playing for Scotland is something I used to dream of as a child and it's a very, very special honour.

"I know that in professional sport, the road is not always smooth and so I just saw it as one more challenge that I was looking forward to overcoming."

Brown was sent back to London by Johnson and told that he would need to brush up on the defensive aspects of his game with his Sarries colleagues if he wanted to win back his place.

Just four weeks after he was left out of the England clash - a move which was criticised by pundits and former players - he has apparently shown enough to merit a reprieve .

The skipper - who reclaims the leadership duties from understudy Greig Laidlaw - admits he did not always agree with the Australian's assessment of his abilities but has worked hard to win Johnson over.

" There is no doubt I was very disappointed because I absolutely love playing for Scotland and it is something I would never take for granted," he said. "But it is fantastic to be back in the side.

" Scott has been very open and honest with me the whole way through and we've had good chats. That's not to say we always agree but I think as long as we're both open and honest with each other then that's a good thing.

"I've taken what he said on-board and I've been working on it and I feel my form at Saracens over the last month has been pretty good."

Brown was forced to watch on TV from his living room as Duncan Weir nailed a drop-goal 10 seconds from time to secure a dramatic 21-20 win over the Azzurri at the Stadio Olimpico.

But the former Glasgow and Munster forward says he never let his own pangs of regret at missing out overshadow his delight for his team-mates.

" I watched the Italy match at home," he explained. "I was absolutely thrilled, not just for Duncan but for the rest of the team. The boys were under a lot of pressure that week but I thought the way they played over there to secure the first win in Rome for quite a number of years was very impressive to watch.

" I would have loved to have been involved the same as every single player in the Scotland squad but I was absolutely delighted for all the boys because I know the pressure they were under and I thought the way they responded was fantastic."

Having come under a barrage of flak for their opening two performances, Scotland have the chance to regain some pride as they look to end an eight-year wait for a Murrayfield win over a famously-erratic Les Bleus line-up.

Brown added: "The French will be an incredibly tough test. Yes okay they didn't play that well against Wales a fortnight ago but I also think that Wales were very strong that night.

"But in saying that, after the first two matches everybody was tipping France for the Championship, so they're an incredibly tough side and we know that we need to be at our best to challenge them on Saturday."


From Belfast Telegraph