FORMER Scotland captain Kelly Brown has returned to Glasgow Warriors as an assistant coach, filling the gap created by the dual departures of John Dalziel, who will join the national set-up following the pro team’s 1872 Cup double-header against Edinburgh later this month, and Petrus Du Plessis, who has accepted another coaching role outside Scotland.
Brown, who has joined the club with immediate effect, will focus on the contact area, while it is anticipated that new head coach Danny Wilson will take charge of set-piece.
Dalziel – who has previously been head coach of Melrose, Scotland Under-20s and Scotland 7s –will link up with scrummaging coach Pieter de Villiers, who has now joined the Scotland coaching group on a full-time basis after impressing in a consultancy role during the 2020 Six Nations, Mike Blair (attack) and Steve Tandy (defence) in the national team’s coaching structure.
Brown initially came to prominence as a player in his native Borders before joining Warriors when the Reivers pro team was closed down in 2007, going on to make 61 appearances for the club during the next three years as part of the the renowned ‘Killer Bs’ back-row triumvirate alongside John Barclay and Johnnie Beattie.
He then moved to Saracens and helped the London club to three Premiership and two Heineken Champions Cup titles during the next seven years before hanging up his boots in 2017 and taking up a coaching role in the club’s highly successful Academy set-up.
He has also had two stints working under Gregor Townsend as part of the Scotland backroom team, including in the lead-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, and had a role with Canada’s senior men’s squad as a defence coach for their 2017 summer Tests.
“When Danny [Wilson] called, the role ticked so many boxes,” said Brown, who played 64 times for Scotland and captained the side on 14 occasions.
“It’s a club I’ve got a lot of love for, so I was delighted to accept the offer. I’ve had a fantastic 10 years at Saracens, and I’ve learnt so much on and off the pitch, and the chance to take up a senior role like this with Glasgow was too good to turn down.
“You take a lot of lessons from your playing career into coaching. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some unbelievable coaches over the years, so you take as many lessons as you can and try to influence your own coaching style.
“There’s a good mix of senior players and younger guys, which is really exciting for me. Seeing where we can take those younger players and take the club to in future is something I’m really looking forward to.
“I’ve coached a number of the boys with Scotland over the last few years, so I know there are some really talented players in the mix. I also know what makes a really successful environment from my time at Saracens, and I’m excited to see where we can go as a club.”
Wilson welcomed the appointment. “We’re delighted to welcome a coach of Kelly’s quality as we continue to build towards our return to rugby,” he said.
“He’s packed a lot into the three years since he hung up his boots, which shows just how highly regarded he is as a coach. He was excellent when I had the chance to work with him as part of the Scotland setup, and I know he’ll bring a lot to the table.
“He not only possesses the experience and expertise through his playing career, but he’s also very good at communicating what he wants with the players.
“As well as a great coach, he’s also a great person to work with and will be an excellent addition to life at Scotstoun as we move forward.
Wilson also congratulated Dalziel on his elevation to the national team. “John’s great work with the Warriors has certainly helped earn him this great opportunity,” he said.
“Even in the short time we’ve worked together, John’s attention to detail and work ethic around the contact area has been clear for all to see and he has all the attributes to succeed on the international stage.
“It’s a role in which I know he’ll thrive and succeed, and we wish him all the very best for the new challenge.”
Dalziel played professional rugby with the Border Reivers before moving into coaching with Melrose in the Scottish Premiership. He had a successful stint in charge of the national under-20s side, which culminated in a best ever fifth place finish at the 2017 Junior World Championship.
He then spent two years coaching the Scotland 7s squad before taking over the Glasgow Warriors forwards at the start of the 2019-20 season. Under his guidance, the Warriors line-out was statistically the best in Europe before the season went into lockdown.