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EXCLUSIVE: Gregor Brown hopes to be the next Scottish rugby star from north-east as he prepares for European debut with Glasgow

Aberdonian Gregor Brown has signed his first professional contract with Glasgow Warriors.
Aberdonian Gregor Brown has signed his first professional contract with Glasgow Warriors.

Aberdonian Gregor Brown hopes he can follow in some famous footsteps as he prepares to make his European debut for Glasgow Warriors.

The 20-year-old flanker signed his first professional contract with the Scotstoun club this week and is listed as a replacement for tomorrow’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Lyon at Matmud Stade Gerland.

Brown, who made his Glasgow debut last year before injury struck, is thrilled with the opportunity he has been given with the Warriors.

Having also represented Scotland at Under-18 and U20 level, in time Brown hopes to become a full international.

He said: “Growing up in Aberdeen, I always supported the Warriors and signing for them is something you dream about as a kid, but you never think it will come true.

“But over the years I’ve made progress by getting into the club’s senior academy and making my debut last year.

“And now to sign the contract it’s surreal to be honest.

“Playing for Scotland is what everyone wants to do. With where I am right now, I know I’ve got a lot of work to do and I’m nowhere near that.

“Right now I’m just focusing on the short-term, but in the long-term it would be a dream come true to play for Scotland.”

Brown takes inspiration from fellow Aberdonians Chris Cusiter (70 caps) and Ruaridh Jackson (33 caps), who both played for Glasgow and became stars for Scotland.

The former Robert Gordon’s College pupil added: “Chris Cusiter and Ruaridh Jackson both went to Robert Gordon’s as well, so they came up a few times to do coaching sessions.

“Aberdeen’s maybe not a massive rugby city, but it was nice to have people to look up to who showed it was possible to be from the north and make it in the game.

“When I was younger they were definitely people I was aware of and looked up to.”

Former Scotland international Chris Cusiter was someone Gregor Brown looked up to

Spurred on by friends

Brown has also been inspired by seeing some of his friends at Glasgow like Jamie Dobie, Ross Thompson and Rufus McLean making the step up to play for Scotland.

He said: “It definitely inspires you, we got tickets for the Tonga game at Murrayfield (last October) where three or four of my friends made their debuts.

“Having been to Murrayfield when I was younger and then going back to see my mates playing, I was so happy for them all.”

Having lived in Nigeria and Egypt because of his father Ken’s job in the oil industry, Brown started playing rugby in primary six when the family returned to Aberdeen.

Initially he played socially at school and for local club Gordonians, however, narrowly missing out on selection for Scotland U16s made him realise rugby was something he should take more seriously.

After playing for the Caledonia North development team, he received a Scotland U18s call-up and then earned a place in the Scottish Rugby Academy in Glasgow three years ago.

He said: “Nobody likes being dropped from anything, do they? So that (missing out on the U16 squad) was a big thing and it made me realise that I was quite close to something good.

“I was realistic about the fact I wasn’t good enough to get in that squad, but I knew what I needed to do and I decided to chuck everything at it and if it didn’t work out I’d tried my best.”

Injury low after debut high

After making the move to Glasgow in 2019, Brown has since featured for the Scotland U20s and made his debut for Warriors as a sub against Leinster in February 2021.

He was selected to start the next game against Zebre, but suffered a knee ligament injury which kept him out for 13 months.

Brown made his comeback last month playing three times for Boroughmuir Bears in the Super6 Sprint Series and now finds himself pitched into the European arena with Glasgow.

Reflecting on the last year, he said: “I was probably still on a high from making my debut and being selected two weeks in a row.

Gregor Brown, left, makes a tackle for Boroughmuir Bears in the Super 6 last month

“So when the injury turned out to be worse than we thought, it was bad news.

“But I was still grateful having had the opportunity to play for the club and, once I came back from my knee, I had a couple more injuries off the back of that which was frustrating.

“The club is great, we have a psychologist that we can go and speak to if we need to and all the academy staff are really good.

“It’s been a pretty quick turnaround after getting back from injury, but to play in a big game like this is really exciting.”

 

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