Super Series countdown 1: Watsonians boost coaching line-up with Fraser Brown appointment

Nikki Walker takes over as interim head coach at Myreside

Fraser Brown will be an assistant coach for Watsonians during the upcoming Super Series Championship. Image: © Craig Watson -
Fraser Brown will be an assistant coach for Watsonians during the upcoming Super Series Championship. Image: © Craig Watson -

FRASER BROWN – the Glasgow Warriors and 61-times capped Scotland hooker – has joined Watsonians’ coaching team ahead of the 2023 Super Series Championship, which kicks-off next weekend.

With Stevie Scott having moved on to become scrum coach at Bath, Nikki Walker – the former Scotland winger – is stepping up from his long-standing assistant (attack) coach role to become head coach on an interim basis. Richard Snedden will continue to look after defence, while Brown will oversee forwards and breakdown.

Speaking ahead of his new team’s first match of the campaign away to the recent Sprint Series champions Ayrshire Bulls next Saturday evening [5.30pm kick-off], Brown insisted that he is in no rush to begin his post-playing career, but the 34-year-old is keen to get some coaching miles on the clock so that he is ready for the day when he does eventually hang up his boots.

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“I did bits and pieces with GHK last season, and I’ve obviously helped out at Glasgow whenever I’ve been injured, but this is my first official role,” he explained. “I wouldn’t say this is the beginning of the end [of my playing career], but I have been looking at doing this for a while now. I’ve had conversations with people at Glasgow and Scottish Rugby about it, and I’ve enjoyed doing stuff with the academy guys when I can.

“It is difficult when you are still playing because there are inevitably clashes, but the handy thing with Watsonians is that I live in Edinburgh so it is just around the corner, and the Super Series is a great level which will allow me to get a little bit more time with guys who are up to speed,” he continued.

“It’s ideal at the minute because the Championship is running from the end of July through to mid-November, and Glasgow’s season doesn’t start until late October because of the World Cup, so there isn’t much of a crossover with games at the weekend. That means I’ll be at training every Tuesday, most Thursdays and at any game which doesn’t clash with Glasgow.”

The Myreside men were Super6 [as it was then known] champions at the end of both the 2022 Sprint and Championship campaigns but struggled under the weight of an extensive injury list during the recent Sprint Series when they ended up finishing third behind the Bulls and Heriot’s.

The target this year is to get back on top, but Brown stresses that player and team development needs to be the driver to any success achieved on the pitch. In terms of his own goals, he is looking forward to getting some exposure outside the bubble which most professional rugby players exist within.

“When you are a player, you can choose to live a fairly sheltered life, away from all the admin and planning that is required off the pitch to allow a team to function,” he reasoned. “This will hopefully give me a chance to get my head stuck into that side of things, so that I see the real-life side of rugby, which is there in the pro game but you don’t really pay attention to when your job is purely about making sure you have done your analysis and prepared your body to play at the weekend.”

Brown signed a one-year contract extension with Glasgow Warriors in May and won’t be drawn on whether that will be his last deal.

“We’ll see,” he replied. “There is an awful long time between now and the end of next season. I’m still really enjoying my rugby as a player, I love being part of Glasgow, which has a great set-up at the moment. It was brilliant last year but we didn’t quite get what we wanted out of the season, so the guys will come back after the break feeling really positive but also really hungry to go one better.

“There was a real frustration at the end of the season because we realise that you can be as good as you like all year, but it boils down to the last two or three games, and the reality is that we didn’t play our best rugby in the matches which really mattered.

“When you see how far you can come in a short space of time, and you see how much of it is down to simple things like working hard for each other and executing under pressure, then it is really easy to see how you can make that next jump to progress even further. I think everyone is just really looking forward to getting back together and pushing on again.”

This is the same mind-set he plans to bring to his new role with Watsonians.

“Winning whatever competition you are entered in is always the plan, but particularly at Watsonians given the success they’ve had,” he concluded. “They play good attacking rugby off a good forwards platform, so it is about continuing that and improving where we can.

“It is not far off what we are trying to do at Glasgow in terms of trying to play off quick ball to get guys running at space on the front foot – get the ball in our hands as much as possible so people can express themselves and showcase their skill-set.

“The formula is simple: try to get as much ball as possible, play some attacking rugby, and get the wins we need to get back to the top of the table.”

Walker added: “I’m absolutely delighted to have accepted the head coach role on an interim basis. I’ve obviously been a part of the club for a number of years now and so it’s a huge privilege for me personally to step up this year.

“The addition of Fraser to our set up is a brilliant signal of our intent to continue to compete at the top of the table amongst the best in the league. His experience at the highest level will be invaluable for everyone at the club and will help us drive high standards.”

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About David Barnes 4002 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

1 Comment

  1. Good stuff David, are there plans to do some pieces on the development15’s as there seems very little info on them 🤷‍♂️

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