Rugby: Tom will be looking for his hat-trick against Aironi

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Rising Edinburgh Rugby star Tom Brown is hoping for the chance to score a try in three successive matches when coach Michael Bradley names his team for tomorrow’s Rabo Direct Pro 12 league clash with Aironi at Murrayfield.

The 21-year-old former Accies and Currie utility back crossed for his first competitive touchdown in the victory over Racing Metro and immediately followed up when Edinburgh lost out to Munster in Limerick on Saturday.

His only Capital touchdowns previously had come in pre-season friendlies but, as he continues to grow as a player, Brown can dream of emulating the remarkable Tim Visser who scored in the first four matches of the 2010-11 campaign. “When you get your first try hopefully they start rolling in,” said Brown who has a particular desire to face Aironi having been part of the team that went down 18-25 in Italy in September and who has switched between full back and wing.

“I could not really ask for more than the four starts I’ve had so far plus the same number of substitute stints at this stage in my career but I’d like to face them again. The longer I am on a pitch the more confident I feel and you are always looking for game time, always fighting to get into the starting 15, always seeking to put yourself into position to be considered. It’s about growing as a player.

“Full back is my primary position but as a back-three player I still get the chance to roam about and look for the ball. I have got my strengths in both positions.

“When we visited Aironi I was at full back for a match that started in 30 degree heat with the sun in our faces. It was always going to be tough and it didn’t go well for our young side on the day (the match took place during the World Cup when Edinburgh had eight players on national duty).

“We are looking to set things right at Murrayfield in a match where we now know what to expect as regards their current strengths.”

Edinburgh have scored 11 tries in their last three matches and Brown added: “Our strengths are to run the ball, hold on to the ball and keep possession. Do that and eventually we will break through and find the gaps.

“A lot of analysis will have been done on Aironi by the time we take the field.”

On the subject of analysis Brown has chipped in to the growing praise of goal-kicker and playmaker Greig Laidlaw for the astuteness behind his match-winning conversion of Tom Visser’s 77th minute try on Edinburgh’s last home outing, against Racing Metro in the Heineken European Cup.

Having converted Brown’s corner-flag try minutes earlier Laidlaw shunned the chance to line-up his attempt to add vital goal-points to Visser’s effort five metres infield because he already had his range and direction programmed.

“Greig is a very clever player. You can see that, too, in the way he can slot into scrum-half or stand-off. He’d know very well he had slotted a kick from the touchline ten minutes previously before and therefore knew exactly what he had to do. Not only that, though, but to have someone who can land kicks under that kind of pressure is very valuable.”

Meanwhile, as Scotland coach Andy Robinson prepares to include Tim Visser in his squad for this summer’s tour of Australia, Fiji and Samoa, just as the Dutchman becomes eligible on residency, there are mixed feelings across the North Sea, Dutch Rugby Union President Willem de Jong, has told a local sports magazine: “He (Visser) is certainly is a role model for young players.

“However, he is also indicative of the problem we have in retaining good players in Holland. Any players of that calibre need to move away to play professional rugby. Then there is the issue of prizing them away from their clubs for international duty.

“Tim is tied to Edinburgh and they are understandably reluctant to let him go to play for Holland.

“It now looks like he’ll soon qualify to play for Scotland – and who can blame him for wanting to do so?

“He’s a top player who needs to play at the highest level. However, this kind of situation is really detrimental to the development of the national team, so we need to look at ways of allowing our top players to play for Holland when required.

“(There is an) urgent need for a professional league – one that can encourage, nurture and keep out best players in the country.”