Brown happy to swap Stellenbosch for Stowmarket

When a full-time rugby post came a calling, Dwain Brown just couldn’t resist. MARK ARMSTRONG caught up with the South African

STOWMARKET is certainly a long way from Stellenbosch in South Africa but, to Dwain Brown, it feels like home.

It is from his Stowmarket base, where he lives with soon-to-be wife Chantel, that the 29-year-old has carved out a reputation for being one of the top coaches in the area.

Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club are currently benefiting from his expertise but Brown has certainly negotiated an interesting path to get to The Haberden.

After gaining degrees at Stellenbosch University near Cape Town in Financial Management and Sports Science, Brown came to the UK in search of a teaching post having completed his PGCE.

A six-month stint at as a teacher in Kent ended when he took over as Head of PE at Finborough College and it was whilst teaching here that Brown was offered an opportunity simply too good to turn down.

Rugby has always been Brown’s first love and when Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club offered him a full-time post as Community and Rugby Development officer, he grabbed the chance with both hands.

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“It was not really a difficult decision as I just absolutely love the game,” said Brown, who had started playing for Bury after director of Rugby Terry Sands offered him the chance to play after he had left Blackheath.

“You don’t often get an opportunity come along like this and I was delighted to take it.”

In taking the post Brown also became the first XV player/coach at Bury but this is only one element to his role.

Brown has been responsible for helping to develop the youth side of the club by coaching the coaches and it is hoped that this will bear fruit for the London One North club in the future.

“I’ve really enjoyed the role. It’s been a learning curve because in the first year you find out what does and what doesn’t work.

“We’ve already got plans for next year and it’s been a learning curve in terms of getting ideas and the way things should be done.”

Brown’s first XV have overcome a sticky start this season and look set to finish safely in mid-table but the club has designs on launching a major challenge for promotion next season.

“The grand plan is to move on into the national leagues,” added Brown. “We will have a big push next season to do that.

“The facilities we’ve got at Bury are absolutely second to none for the level we’re at.”

Being player/coach has its advantages out on the field but there is often a danger that all the off-field administration can impact upon performances.

However, this is not the case at Bury with Brown still one of their star turns at centre and he puts this down to the management structure at the club.

“It’s not been difficult because I have such a good support team behind me. The support structure has worked very well and enabled me to concentrate on just the playing side when I need to.

“Terry (Sands) has been invaluable with the contacts he has in the game and there are lots of people who allow me to concentrate on the rugby side of things come Saturday afternoon.”

All thoughts of rugby will be banished from Brown’s mind in three weeks however when he returns to South Africa for his wedding to Chantel, who teaches Science and Maths at Finborough College.

But they will soon be back in their Stowmarket home soon after where Brown will be plotting just how to take Bury, and the area’s youngsters, forwards.

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