Brown to retire at end of season

Brown to retire at end of season

Glasgow Warriors centurion Fraser Brown has announced that he will retire from professional rugby at the end of the 2023/24 season, calling time on one of the most distinguished playing careers in the club’s history.

The 34-year-old hangs up his boots after 11 years with the Scotstoun outfit, having made 141 appearances in the black and blue shirt and serving as co-captain for two of his 12 seasons at the club.

Having initially made his debut away to Zebre Parma in February 2013 after being added to the squad as injury cover, Brown signed his first contract with Gregor Townsend’s Warriors in the summer of 2013.

After reaching an inaugural PRO12 Final in 2013/14, the hooker was then an integral member of the Guinness PRO12 title-winning squad of 2014/15 – to date, the only Scottish club squad to have lifted silverware.

He was then to the fore as the Warriors qualified for a first-ever Champions Cup quarter-final the following season, a try in a 42-13 dismantling of Leicester Tigers at Scotstoun amongst the highlights of a memorable European run.

A second quarter-final followed in 2018/19, a campaign that also saw Brown help Dave Rennie’s squad reach the 2019 Guinness PRO12 Final in front of over 47,000 spectators at Celtic Park – a record attendance for a club match in Scotland, as well as the competition’s record attendance for its showpiece event.

He became a centurion in August 2020, scoring a try and earning Player of the Match honours in a 15-7 victory over Edinburgh.

The hooker then became the first – and to date, only – player to feature in three finals for a Scottish club side in 2023, starting in the EPCR Challenge Cup final at the Aviva Stadium last May in his most recent Glasgow Warriors appearance.

In addition, Brown can count a Melrose 7s winners medal amongst his impressive playing accolades, helping the Warriors to victory in the 2014 edition of the tournament.

The former Heriots man has also represented his country with distinction, winning 61 caps for Scotland since making his debut against Italy in South Africa at the 2013 Quadrangular Tournament.

He was selected for both the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups, featuring in all nine of Scotland’s matches across the two tournaments.

Brown earned his 50th cap for Scotland by helping his country to victory over France in the 2020 Six Nations, before captaining the men in blue for the first time later that year in a 45-7 win over Georgia at Scottish Gas Murrayfield.

Whilst sidelined by a knee injury sustained while playing for the World XV last May, Brown served as Defence Coach for Glasgow Warriors’ first-ever women’s squad during their inaugural Celtic Challenge campaign, as well as being appointed as Head Coach for Watsonians in the FOSROC Super Series Sprint.

“It’s still slightly surreal to think this will be the end of my playing career,” Brown told following the announcement.

“I’m fairly level-headed about it just now, but I’m sure I’ll get a bit emotional about it at some point in the near-future.

“There have been so many moments I’ll look back at with pride from my time at Glasgow. The title run is obviously up there, and some of the performances from reaching the first-ever quarter-final in Europe in 2016/17 stick in my memory. The home and away wins over Racing, the atmosphere at Scotstoun for the win over Leicester and then going down to win 43-0 at Welford Road – that first half is probably as close to a perfect 40 minutes as I’ve ever experienced.

“The run to the 2019 final, too, is a highlight– that was a brilliant environment with some outstanding players and coaches, and the semi-final win over Ulster at Scotstoun is right up there. Last season is right up there, as well; we were getting written off a bit after a disappointing end to the previous season, but Franco coming in and getting back to appreciating hard work and everyone digging in makes it a season I really enjoyed.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with some brilliant people, too – there’s too many to mention, but that probably shows the quality of people that Glasgow has been fortunate enough to have come through the system over the last 12 years.

“To have been able to represent Scotland is a massive honour, too. I never thought I would get one cap, so to get to 50 – and beyond – was a huge moment for me. Until you experience it, you possibly don’t appreciate how intense an environment Test rugby really is, and again I’ve been fortunate enough to have some amazing people alongside me along the journey.

“My gratitude that goes towards everyone that’s supported me throughout the years is beyond words. Playing at Scotstoun and Murrayfield are the two most enjoyable atmospheres I’ve had the privilege of playing in, and it’s impossible to describe that little bit extra adrenaline the noise of the crowd gives you. It’s all-encompassing. It’s why people love playing for this club, and thank you to everyone.”

Head Coach Franco Smith led the tributes to Brown’s career, saying: “Fraser is the epitome of a modern professional, and someone who should serve as a role model to any young player starting their journey.

“The respect with which he is held, not only within the Glasgow Warriors community but within the wider rugby family, should serve to underline the achievements he has earned throughout his career and the manner in which he has achieved them.

“His work ethic and determination to bring the best out of the people and players around him has been clear to all throughout his career.

“I wish him the very best for whatever comes next, and I know he will apply that same work ethic and determination that made him one of this club’s most distinguished Warriors.”

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