Tom BROWN today pinpointed the moment when he began to fully appreciate just how high a standard he had set himself in the new rugby season, which starts officially for Edinburgh with a home Rabo Direct Pro 12 match against Munster on Saturday.
For the 22-year-old full back/wing it wasn’t when he turned up at Malleny Park on Saturday to see the two clubs who launched him on the road to a pro career – Currie and Edinburgh Accies – battle it out at the start of the premiership.
Nor was it when he returned with a debut cap from Scotland’s summer tour.
Rather, it was when he sat down in front of a television and tuned into the Southern’s Hemisphere’s Quad-Nations now taking place and featuring Argentina alongside traditional foes New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
The Wallabies were playing the All Blacks, and Brown said: “It definitely brought it home where I’d reached as a player watching that match. A lot of the players we played against in Newcastle were on duty again for Australia and I thought: ‘That is what we are up against.’
“Then I remembered Scotland had beaten Australia on their own turf and I was part of it. If confirmation was needed that Scottish rugby is going places that was it, and now I hope to continue my involvement by drawing on the confidence I took from the tour.
“Scotland welcome New Zealand and South Africa during November and some of the rugby they are playing just now is brilliant to watch. To test myself against them as well as Tonga would be fantastic.”
Once the more experienced Tim Visser finally fulfilled an eligibility qualification a few days after the Australian Test, it was always on the cards he would come into the back three for the meetings with Fiji and Samoa and Brown, who had earned his cap from off the bench, would drop out.
But the second-half stint has taken Tom’s relish for the weeks ahead to new heights and not even disappointing pre-season results for Edinburgh culminating in a 3-54 defeat by Northampton last Friday could alter that.
“I go into the season with a lot more confidence and last Friday night during the build-up and the game I felt a lot more relaxed and ready to go.
“The results didn’t go our way in pre-season, but what counts is when the season proper starts this weekend.
“It wasn’t good enough against Northampton, but we were trying a few things, trying some boys in new positions and there were new faces there as well.
“It was good to get a run out with the newcomers, good to get to know them on the pitch. For myself just getting back on to Murrayfield was a good thing.
“There’s a lot of work being done this week, but we will take things out of the two pre-season games [Edinburgh also played Newcastle, losing 3-21] and hopefully get a result this week against Munster.
“There are no medals to be won in pre-season, but we can use these results as a spur. We want to push on and take positives out as well as looking at negatives and learning from them.”
Saturday’s visit from Munster will bring mixed memories for Brown. It was against them that he scored his first try for Edinburgh in front of 18,000 at Thomond Park last November, but with the team slipping to defeat it was bittersweet occasion.
This time stakes have been raised with the teams due to meet shortly in the Heineken European Cup, and Brown says: “Saturday’s game will be huge in view of what is coming up – and we want to put the first marker down having beaten them in the league at Murrayfield last season.”
Victory would certainly be welcome, as Edinburgh have only had the better of Munster five times in 21 meetings.