Horne achieved his World Series record of 68 consecutive tournaments between 2007 and 2015 and to Brown, this will always remain a unique achievement.
“I was privileged to play in many, many tournaments with Frankie and was in fact, inspired by him to take up the game. He was setting standards from way out and changed the way playing for the Blitzboks was seen. His decision to focus solely on sevens as a career helped me to make the same call when I needed to, and to be able to play with him for so long in the forwards was a joy.”
Brown looked set to pass this mark earlier in his career, but a knee injury sustained at the HBSC Cape Town Sevens in 2016 resulted in him only playing only in two tournaments that season. Last year, having fully recovered, he injured his other knee while playing in Singapore, resulting in him missing the last two tournaments in the series.
“These injuries made me realise how significant Frankie’s record was – he played for eight consecutive years and it took me 10 to reach the same mark,” elaborated Brown, who applauded the medical staff with the team and at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport, where the Blitzboks are based.
“For me, they are the real heroes in any story. People such as Johan van Wyk and Nadia Clenzos do wonders to get us back onto the field. Rugby, as a contact sport, means injuries, but they work 24/7 to get the guys back on the field as soon as possible again.”
“In the beginning winning was everything, but playing with a smile on my face has been the biggest reward in the last couple of years. This is really such a great honour and privilege to be able to do this,” Brown said.
The stalwart will have another old mate back in the scrum this weekend, as Chris Dry makes a return to the side after 15 months out due to injury: “It will be good to pack down with Chris again. Philip will also be there and amongst ourselves, we have close to 300 tournaments combined in the front row.”