Tom Brown will be playing for his personal rugby future as well as to help extend Edinburgh’s latest European adventure when Perpignan visit Murrayfield on Saturday in the Heineken Cup.
The 23-year-old Scotland internationalist, sidelined from pre-season until November with ankle ligament damage and now making up for lost time, is out of contract shortly.
“I’m not sure what is going to be happening next year, but all things being equal, I’d love to stay at Edinburgh,” said Brown, capped from off the bench when Scotland posted their historic away victory over Australia in 2012.
“Edinburgh is my home town and it’s where I want to stay.
“At the moment I’m concentrating on the next game and while other people are doing the talking off the pitch and I’m looking to do mine on it.
“What that means is a good performance not just against Perpignan, but hopefully in what might prove to be a group decider in Munster the following weekend.
“If I can deliver and the team do likewise, I’ll be happy.”
It was in a warm-up game against Newcastle at Hawick in August that Brown collected the knock which blighted the early part of this season.
“It was actually a similar injury to the one which is keeping Tim Visser out, except that he broke a bone, whereas mine was ligament damage on the same part of the leg,” he said.
However, the irony of how a colleague’s injury misfortune then opened a door isn’t lost on the lad who entered senior rugby at Edinburgh Accies and progressed through the Currie club to the point where he now has 48 pro appearances under his belt.
“I made a comeback playing for Currie in the wins over Stirling County and Ayr which kick-started the club’s season and that led me on to the Edinburgh bench,” he said.
“The big break came when I was called up shortly before kick-off to play in the win at Gloucester. We knew earlier in the week that Harry Leonard was struggling, but it was a bit of a last-minute decision whether he played or not.
“Harry had travelled in the hope of being fit, but it wasn’t to be and when he dropped out Greig Tonks moved to stand off and Jack Cuthbert’s switch to full back opened the way for me to come in on the wing.
“Actually, the reshuffle perhaps affected Gloucester more than us and contributed to the win that has kept our European campaign alive. Having faced us the previous week they probably had a good idea of what we were about then suddenly it was all change in our backs.”
From there, Brown kept his place for the win against Leinster and his first taste of derby action with Glasgow. “In each of my previous two seasons at Edinburgh I’d picked up niggling injuries and so missed the 1872 Cup,” he continued. “Being involved this time in a game surrounded by hype was certainly a highlight, although it was disappointing to come off at half-time with a head knock.”
At that stage, Edinburgh were leading and tests showed Brown would be able to play in the Ne’er Day re-match, only for flooding at Scotstoun to force a postponement. So, there is more lost time to be made up and Brown would love to emulate his first taste of European Cup rugby when he scored a try in the amazing 48-47 home win over Racing Metro two years ago.
The situation is different this time in that Perpignan are almost certainly out of qualifying contention, although Brown feels that could make them more dangerous.
“Perpignan will travel with nothing to lose by throwing the ball around. The game could break up and become loose, but we have to avoid being sucked into something like that.
“What has been winning us games recently has been our defence; that’s what has been stepped up and we need another tight performance.
“That said there is every chance of turnover opportunities and I love to be involved in a running game.
“Just as against Metro we’ll be looking to pin Perpignan down and pressure them in different parts of the pitch. Hopefully this might tire them out and we can capitalise towards the end like we had planned to do against Racing Metro. Mind you, at 20 points down with 20 minutes to go on that occasion there wasn’t much else for it but to go for broke, anyway.”
The best laid plans and all that but, undoubtedly, Edinburgh wouldn’t ‘worry if they ended up a point ahead of Perpignan after another try-fest and with an all-important bonus point in the bag heading into the final round of group fixtures.