Erasmus clarifies his position on Tony Brown



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Hands off Tony Brown. That was the stern message on Thursday from Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus who has had to deal with the daily clamour to field former All Black flyhalf Brown in the Stormers’ starting line-up, ahead of the promising Peter Grant, against the Cheetahs at Newlands, on Saturday.

“Tony (Brown) knows his role in the team, and what role he is going to play,” said Erasmus.

“He’s not playing for a Springbok place, he’s not eligible for the Springboks.

“He’ll play when he’s called upon. We’re having a lovely time having him here. Not only the coaching staff but also the players are enjoying him because of his experience.

“When the time comes, he will play in the run-on side, but as we saw in the last two games, he made quite an impact when he made an appearance.”

Brown said he last played at Newlands in 2001.

“I played for the All Blacks then and it stands out because it was one of the rare occasions when I made the side ahead of Andrew Mehrtens. It was also memorable at Newlands because the All Blacks won that day.”

The former All Blacks five-eighths, who has 18 international caps, is no stranger to South African rugby as in 2006 he had a stint with the Sharks.

However, this time he’ll have to contend with the new experimental law variations.

“The new rules have caught me out a few times. If one is not up to it, you’ll get caught out,” explained Brown.

“But there’s so much talent around me, I’m fitting in quite easily.

“The Stormers are confident in training and we’ll try to put that on the field. The Stormers have to combine the talent with their game plan.

“I enjoy playing for two reasons. I like the competitive edge and I’m here to help the Stormers win the Super 14.

“I’ve observed changes in the South African game.

The backline players are creating greater opportunities for each other, rather than for themselves.

“In the forwards there are far more ball-carriers, rather than the emphasis on the set-pieces.”

Brown was keen to see Grant graduate to the ranks of the Springboks and he promised to help the Stormers pivot to become the country’s No 1 choice.

Brown cut his Super 14 teeth at the New Zealand outfit, the Highlanders, where he was capped 83 times from 1996 until 2004.

Sapa –   

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