Tom Brown insists he is out to make up for lost time when returning to Edinburgh Rugby’s line-up for the first time this season against Cardiff at BT Murrayfield tomorrow.
It isn’t just games that the 24-year-old winger has missed in revealing that when injury strikes – he has had a knee ligament problem – there are unseen ramifications.
“I came off against Munster at Meggetland in May and re-habbed all through the summer until finally being passed fit a month ago,” said Brown, who was capped against Australia on tour in 2012.
He added: “Just one of the things I learned from being mentored by Mossy (Chris Paterson) was that you don’t book holidays until you are absolutely certain you will be able to go.
“Mossy pointed out that part of being a pro rugby player is it is only once you are off the pitch and your holiday has started that you can make a move in case of injury. I didn’t have a holiday booked, although I had things, in mind and it was just as well as summer was mostly spent with physios and strength/conditioning coaches who did a great job for me.
“The funny thing was that although I’ve had a few injuries, this was one I wasn’t too worried about.
“It wasn’t until the scan results came back that I realised it was pretty nasty ligament damage.
“My knee is now feeling really strong and after a couple of games with Boroughmuir I had a run-out with Edinburgh A. In addition I was 25th man when we visited Leinster for our last game and although I was only running on with the water it got me back into feeling part of the match squad and being used to travelling again.
“I’m certainly feeling refreshed and I’ve had time to step back from rugby and gain a different perspective.
“I now realise even more that you are only ever one injury away from a long absence and that has made me even more determined to make the most of any opportunity I get – starting against Cardiff when promotion to the Scotland side for Tim Visser has created an opening for me.”
Adding to Brown’s sense of anticipation is the return of centre Matt Scott after a similar injury absence.
The pair go back a long way and have often been seen to feed off each other’s abilities.
“I’ve played with Matty for years, including Scotland age grade teams and at Currie.
“He will be a good player for me to get off my wing and almost hover around. Matty does like to make half-breaks and off-loads. Hopefully I can be there on his shoulder to finish them off and make some line breaks.”
Edinburgh could certainly use some inspiration having won only one of their last eight Pro12 encounters with Cardiff – 21-19 at the Arms Park over two years ago.
The Welshmen’s overall record at BT Murayfield in the league is won six, lost three.
“I’ve played Cardiff a few times and they are a really physical side,” said Brown. “They do like to play with the ball but only in the right territory.
“It’s the start of a really important block of fixtures for us with Zebre away, Treviso at home, two European meetings with London Welsh and the home and away Glasgow matches and it is good we start out fresh.”
Dave Denton is one of only a handful of Edinburgh players who remain from the side which last beat Cardiff, partly due to international calls.
He is telling the sponsors’ website that the best is yet to come from Edinburgh this season.
“It’s been a really up-and-down year for us and consistency is something we’ve always struggled with since I’ve been here,” said Denton, adding: “We have the makings of a great side with some impressive players and when we come together we can play some fantastic rugby.
“We showed a bit of that in the two European games (wins at Bordeaux and at home to Lyon) and we’ve historically done well in Europe, but this year in particular the Guinness Pro12 is the most important competition for us.
“Our form has been improving and when we get it right we look good, but we struggle when we lose possession and you can’t win games without the ball. We’re still aiming for the play-offs and then anything can happen – but to get there we need some good performances and to keep on winning.”