Englishman abroad Andrew Brown setting sights on taking Jed-Forest up Tennent’s Premiership table
Andrew Brown has taken over as the Jedburgh side’s new boss, following Scott Tomlinson’s departure in January, and he says that, though unfamiliar with rugby in the region, he’s keen to learn.
The Englishman’s most recent coaching post was south of the border at Wigton in Cumbria, and he’ll be assisted in his new role by Mark Lee, one of his sidekicks there.
“I want to embrace what Jed is all about and the skill-set that the boys have,” said the 42-year-old after meeting his new players and coaching team for the first time at a training session last Thursday night, though he did also see them getting beaten 59-17 by Marr early last month.
“I believe the DNA at Jed is to have the ball in play and to play with tempo and to play with width.
“I don’t see Jed as a 10-man game at all. When they’ve got boys like the Young brothers, they are class operators. They want to have ball in hand and we’ve got to get them into the game.”
Prior to coaching, Brown’s playing career began as a junior at Wigton.
Although he started off as a scrum-half, by the end of his playing days, he’d shifted to number seven in the back row.
He moved down south in 2003 to play for Aylesbury and then Harpenden before moving back to Wigton in late 2008.
After his playing career finished, he became Wigton’s head coach and now can’t wait to get his teeth into a similar role at Riverside Park, he says.
“This is a really exciting opportunity,” Brown said.
“To be honest with you, I’m probably a bit naive about Borders rugby, as much as I’m from north Cumbria.
“We never crossed the border to play rugby – we were always in the north west of England – so I’m entering into something totally different.
“I don’t know a lot about it, don’t know players, don’t know coaches, so that’s the other exciting part of it, to be part of something new and something totally different.
“I’ve seen videos and I like the skill-set of some of the players.
“I went up to watch them play their last home game, and sadly they got beaten.
“Mark Lee had been invited up to that game as a past player for Jed, who were having a past players’ dinner.
“Last season didn’t go the best for them.”
Brown is keen to finish higher up the table next term.
“I don’t think we’ll be bringing in many new players this summer,” he said.
“I think with a little bit of tweaking of the playing style and everything, I fully expect the lads to do really well.
“We will take every game as it comes, but the target is definitely to do better than they’ve done this year.”
Jed-Forest’s players will continue doing sevens training without Brown in the short term, with their new head coach officially taking over when pre-season training starts at the end of June.