Ep. 28 - Peter Browne: Professional rugby player
Ep. 28 - Peter Browne: Professional rugby player

Peter Browne played professional rugby for 12 years - starting out at Newcastle Falcons and finishing up in Ulster after a career including great success, first at Harlequins and then at London Welsh.

In October 2018, Pete announced his retirement from pro rugby due to medical reasons, involving multiple concussions.

In this chat with Graham Daniels he touches on:

  • The secrets of the success at Harlequins
  • The psychology of dealing with major repeated injuries
  • The freedom of having an identity in Jesus first and foremost
  • Making big decisions about moving clubs
  • How he dealt with not being selected in his last few years
  • His motivation for speaking of Jesus to his team-mates


Graham Daniels: I'm a bit nervous doing this podcast, right, because I've walked into the room and the fellow is massive, massive and he stared at me and all and we work together. So Peter Brown, absolute giant of a man, 12 years as a professional rugby player at the top level. My privilege is to talk to him just around the time when the Rugby World Cup's on. And you know at least four or five in the frame we reckon, but there's one very good team, or I think it would be grand if they won it, but we'll talk to him about that a bit later. Pete, I want to dive straight in at what I think is probably the most successful period of your career on paper with Harlequins so you're there 2010 to 2013, winning some big cup competitions and the Premiership, the ultimate prize really in domestic rugby, certainly. Tell me about being at Harlequins.

Peter Browne: Harlequins was a great time for me. A really, really strong squad. You had players like Nick Easter, Ugo Monye, all these household names. Mike Brown, who's still playing at the top, Danny Care. You know, I was surrounded by a lot of top top players and a great squad, which had previously probably under achieved, and came into even guys like Joe Marler coming through, he was a young player when I was there. But came through and yeah, won the Premiership, and then the next three years while I was there, won something every year. So to be involved in a squad like that was great, and I learned a lot and in some ways you know, a bit like Saracens now there was that habit of winning, winning became a bit of a habit, and these guys knew how to perform. And it was, yeah, it was a great place to learn.

Graham Daniels: Interesting. For those involved in really good level sport, right? Professional sport, top competitive sport, that's a three year window where they've under performed before. Then you go and win European level cups, domestic cups and so on. What would you say now in hindsight having just come from Newcastle, from the Falcons, as your starting out point in rugby, as you look back on that in the light of retirement, why did that team knit together in those three years? What was it about the team?

Peter Browne: I think a fantastic core group of players with a common goal within that. So you had Nick Evans that at 10, fantastic New Zealand fly-half, and you had Nick Easter at eight, Danny Care at nine. So you had these key positions, Mike Brown at 15, so these key positions where we're all international players, quality players. And then within that you had a great influx of young players coming through. So you had that ambition of the young players, the senior players were at the top of their game as well, so it was just a good time for Harlequins I think.

Also the management was good. You had Conor O'Shea coming on board who was a good man to steer the ship, he's now with Italy and yeah, he was very good at just getting the culture right. And we sort of had this whole ethos of playing the Harlequins way, and that was we wanted to throw the ball around enjoy it, and we had athletic players and you wanted to try things, and people did that. So it was, it was a really exciting time to play. And I think, yeah, it was that sort of, it was the right time for a lot of those players, which was good.

Graham Daniels: What's the one enduring thing that you took out of it then in the midst of all that, a very successful time. If you were to be coaching somebody in a couple of years time, what would be the one thing that you'd take out of that group of players and say with all the fortune and stuff around it, here's what was very deliberate and made it a really top class outfit?

Peter Browne: I think there was a self belief and belief in each other. I think that was probably, so therefore you created a team. So I just saw a confidence in these guys who are top professionals in what they did and and how they acted. And that rubbed off on me as a younger player coming through it meant that I wanted to get up with them and be as good as them, and see, they were role models in that way. So I think it was a self belief and belief in each other. So they brought us along with them and created that team ethos within that.

Can I pinpoint one particular thing that meant that it was such a great group. I don't know if I can. Like I, but the team reacted in a way that meant that adversity, tough games, a loss maybe as well, meant that you just got closer together and worked harder. It was that, there were good processes as well. I think they simplified a lot of the coaching. So we, every week you'd have a three main points on the opposition, and you'd do your video prep as well, but you knew what your three main points were on what you were looking at for the opposition, and how we were going to defend, how we were going to attack, and then what we were going to do.

So that simplification meant that we were able to just go out and play. We weren't spending a lot of time just going, "Right Saracens playing this way, X are playing this way, we've got to do this, this, this and this." There was that, but the coaches meant that they just stripped it back so you could just play. And I think that worked then.

Graham Daniels: Very helpful. So you moved from character to real tactical competencies there, don't you? And surely anyone who plays top level sport in our generation will find themselves inundated with clippings and cuttings of the opposition and themselves. And it seems to me in the modern era that the genius will be keep that to a minimum so as not to fog the mind of the player getting ready for his next match. So I'm sure for another day we might have a more, we might get a techie in who does all the analysis and asking those questions about sport, because it's a huge factor now in contemporary sport.

Now I'm going to pick up on something you said there which interests me, because you said a young player coming through and schooled at the Academy in Gloucester, then onto University in Durham, and playing for Newcastle Falcons over a four year window. I'll pick up on that in a minute, but going from Falcons into a highly successful Harlequins, everything you've said so far has been affirmative. But as a young pro trying to make his breakthrough, you had a shocking time with injuries there. And I'm interested in hearing a bit about the injuries, but more interested I'm afraid, in how you dealt with that psychologically and emotionally, in that process?

Peter Browne: Yeah. I, so moving from Harlequins I, Conor came and saw me and wanted to get me involved because he'd heard, he wanted to get a certain type of player and I fitted that style of player that he wanted at Harlequins. And they'd had injury issues, and so he was able to come in and get another player in. And that was a really good start for me because I knew that the guy picking the team, running, he rated me and he wanted me in that team. I had a good first year and was involved a lot in the A team. Played a huge amount of rugby, and was involved a lot in the first team as well, getting a number of starts but lots of bench appearances. And loved it, it was fantastic.

I was on the bench in that final of the European Amlin Cup, as it was called then, but it's the Challenge Cup now, and yeah, real privileged to be involved. I was all set to then be, I wanted to be a regular starter then. And we get to this preseason and I've bulked up a bit more, I knew that was something I had to do, and was ready for this. And we were out training and jumped to catch a ball and landed on my knee and heard a bit of a pop. Thought nothing of it, got up, could still move it. But it turns out that I had, after some exploration, I'd ruptured my PCL. So just really innocuous, and I found that very difficult. It was also I wanted to get back and take this opportunity, and it took a lot longer than we originally thought, I was out for about five months because I, eventually I needed to have an arthroscopy. And I get my knee looked at and there was a tear on my meniscus and stuff.

So it was just bitty and hard, and all that time I felt like I was missing my opportunity. A younger guy came through and did well, and other guys who were already senior players were doing well as well, and I just wasn't there and I wasn't making my stand. So that, and then the year after I worked hard and got into a position to be able to challenge for my visit, my place again. And in December after a few really good performances, I played well, got back in the good graces of the coaches. In a training session, I ruptured my peck. So again, a major injury. And these two major injuries, how did I deal with them? Like for me faith is central and I wrestled and I toiled with it, and one of the things which I wanted to do was to be a contributing part of this team. I wanted to be respected and to be part of this team, and to be contributing, and I didn't feel like I was able to do that when I was injured. All I could do was focus on getting better.

Did it, did I find it really, really tough? Yeah, I think I did. It feels like a long time ago now as well at the same time. Which as you grow older you realize that these things in the moment are the biggest things you can ever imagine. Like you know, just affecting your mindset, the way that you sleep at night, the anxieties that they can cause you. But in the long run they're just the blink of an eye. And you know, do I, within that my faith was central to trying to maintain an identity which was in Christ. As in my performance, my body, the way that my body worked, or wasn't working in these instances, didn't define me.

The way that I played didn't define me. And I had to, and the hardest thing that, one of the hardest things is being a Christian within this performance based environment, is reminding yourself of that, is actually knowing that. Because you can know it in your head, but knowing it in your heart is a different instance. And I was very thankful to have my mom and dad around me who were able to give me a perspective on that. I was involved in, with, I have close friends as well, who were able to just point me in the right directions of where to put that identity, and not to place it all in that performance and that lack of a working body, but to place it in getting better yes, but also in something that's got an eternal factor to it.

Graham Daniels: Let me flip that then. So when you were top man, let's say you're at University of Durham, you're at Newcastle Falcons, which is a pretty big deal when you're still a student, you're playing English student rugby. So then you would have been top man. You knew Christ personally at that stage as well. Maybe too tricky a question, but compare with me now what they say about elite sport, right? The highs aren't as high as the lows are low, right? When you're low, you work for your identity in Christ because it's stripped away. Your identities being stripped. What about when you were top mom then, a bit earlier in your career, for example, how did your Christian faith inform humility in that? Did it?

Peter Browne: That's a good question. Being top man, I think that rugby's quite a culture where nobody will let you unless you're really top man, and there's, you don't feel like top man. It's quite a humbling place where people keep you pretty level headed. And when you, like there's a perspective from me and when I was playing for Durham, I was playing for the first team or I was captaining a little bit or whatever it was, I knew that that was a level way below Newcastle.

And then when I was playing for Newcastle, yeah, I was trying to make my way still like, and I was trying to achieve, I was trying to do those things. So I think there's a, within me, there was a constant yearning to succeed and to be better and to achieve that. But within that, what was I playing for? Like, ultimately my faith meant that I wasn't playing just for that success. My success was actually in just playing because God had given me these gifts. So the freedom, if I'm able to actually conceive that, I'm able to actually believe that, is that that brings a freedom to the way that I play. As in I could have a terrible game, and those lows can feel low, but my identity isn't in that. My performance doesn't matter. I'm still loved by Jesus. And my identity as a son of God in that sense is never going to change no matter how up and down my performances are.

And therefore when I was high, when I was doing really well, like I'm there to glorify God. But I also want to have conversations with guys because I believe with these guys, these 15 guys, 20 guys that I'm playing with, there's more to life than this. There's more to life than this rugby. And I'm trying to maintain that perspective, and I want to talk to them about that perspective because I believe it. So when I was at university, initiation is a big thing, I did a non alcoholic initiation, completely non alcoholic, which made me very sick. But I gained a lot of respect from guys who thought that I just wasn't drinking because I was scared, but I wasn't drinking because I wanted to make a stand.

Graham Daniels: Now you, now listen you can't tell a story like that without telling us what made you sick can you? We'd get about a million complaints. What did you drink that made you puke up?

Peter Browne: So I drank six pints of off milk with off curry in it. And I was very, very fortunate that I was projectile vomited everywhere. Because that wouldn't have been good for me. And then I had to eat a raw leak as well afterwards. So it was-

Graham Daniels: Oh my, six pints?

Peter Browne: And all the time ... Yeah. And I had to finish it before the guys finished their alcoholic drink, or at the same time. So, and I had to do all this in a dress as well, which was the only good bit. So.

Graham Daniels: Oh that is gross. I would just, listen friends, which you may not know this, but we're going to cut off for 30 seconds. I'm just going to nip out. Oh Peter Browne, that's shocking.

Peter Browne: Yeah.

Graham Daniels: But fair play good standard. No, I've got, you see, but I'm thinking of friends of mine now in the same professional soccer, right? This question's come up so many times. No, that's an exaggeration. But it comes up. They say, "All right, listen, I've listened to your man Pete Brown there and very good, very good." But you see, here's my worry a coach says, "He loves Jesus and that's where his identity is. And if he wins or loses it's fine. What's happened to his edge? He'll lose his edge won't he? Don't be letting people become a Christian because they're going to lose their edge if they talk like that." Why doesn't your edge disappear then? Because it doesn't count, you're loved anyway.

Peter Browne: Yeah, you're loved anyway, but it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. It doesn't mean it doesn't mean an incredible amount to you, but it doesn't mean everything. It can mean a huge amount without meaning everything. And I think that's the important thing. And I, that I've had that question before as well. So yeah, there's a freedom that I'd hate to lose, and I, that fear of failure as well. It, that burdens me as well throughout my career. So, and sometimes it crippled me slightly from performing. So those things that, they're still there, and that want and that need to perform is still there, but it isn't everything. It isn't the be-all and end-all. And I think that's maybe a perspective that would be really helpful for a lot of professional sportsman. And create an edge of a slightly different sharpness.

Graham Daniels: Oh, very nice, very nice. Boy, this boys hard to interview, he's got a quick turn of phrase and all. Now, obviously in prep for this, I have to say that the highlight of your career was Harlequins, for what they achieved on paper anyway. But of course there'll be a few clubs now saying, "How dare you!" Ulster might not like that very much. Falcons might not like it. But above all when you finished at Harlequins and you get some fitness back, you've got to learn at Welsh. Now we're talking Peter Browne at London Welsh. You get into the Premiership that year. One year there, good?

Peter Browne: Yeah. Great. We won the championship, and good environment., played a lot of rugby, which was what I wanted to go and do. And yeah, it was just a great place to be because we were winning week in and week out and beat Bristol. We were underdogs, massive underdogs. I played in the first leg of the final, and then got injured for the second one, but was just hugely involved in all of those. Whereas with Harlequins I wasn't necessarily massively involved in that Premiership, like I was part of the squad but didn't get to be a huge part of it. The Amlin Cup, the challenge cup, I played throughout the pull stages and a little bit after that, but again, didn't play in the final, didn't come off the bench. LV cup I was involved quite a lot in that, but came back from injury after doing my peck and got to play in the final off the bench. So this was different. This was like really cool.

Graham Daniels: Yeah, you're an insider. You're playing all the time.

Peter Browne: Yeah. I was playing well as well, so.

Graham Daniels: Yeah, I know. I thought it was an excellent culture at London Welsh.

Peter Browne: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. The London bit was great, so yeah.

Graham Daniels: You absolute snider! Good. So you're at London Welsh, now Ulster's the last club in your career. Now, interesting, did you have decisions to make around leaving London Welsh? Because at this point, despite injuries, given your bulk and position, second row lock, forward back row, you're really at your prime now because you don't get that many years in those positions. What decisions did you have to make when you're based in London, when Ulster was the place you ended up?

Peter Browne: Yeah, so I was fortunate the second year at London Welsh, those years were very difficult. And we talk about highs and lows, that was a low. And in some ways I played some quite good rugby in that year, but as a team we really struggled. So I was given an offer by Ulster and a big decision to make. My dad, who's a proud Ulsterman, was one of the big reasons why I wanted to go there. Family there, it's sort of in the blood, in my blood. And that was, the team and I, you know I'm Irish qualified and that was where I wanted to, I would've wanted to go and play.

So it was, in some ways that was a dream come true, to be offered that by Ulster, and to be given that opportunity. Knowing that I was at a struggling premiership team that was going to be relegated, to then go to a team that was just so prestigious. You know, semi-finals, finals for years and years, semi-final of the Champions Cup as well. Yeah. So a team that's on the up now, again, with loads of internationals, and in a place that's a part of my family history. So I had to make the decision to move, which was big, but just felt right. There was a piece there that this was the right move for me.

Graham Daniels: Did it, was it an unbelievable buzz when you put the shirt on in a proper game for the first time and walked out in Belfast itself? What was that like?

Peter Browne: Yeah.

Graham Daniels: What was the game, what was the game?

Peter Browne: The first game I played was a preseason friendly against Leinster, and that was, it was actually before the last World Cup, so 2015. And it was, yeah, it was amazing. My mom and dad were there as well. And just to be, just to wear that red hand and to be walking out at Kingspan Stadium as it's called, Ravenhill as I knew it as a kid growing up. It was, in some ways it was surreal. I played there for Newcastle in a preseason friendly, and played there for Ulster as well. But it was something different. Those fans, like they pack that place out, and it's, those fans are incredible. So yeah.

Graham Daniels: I know you got to be careful how you answer this, right, because you're going 2015 so in that four year window, what was the highlight of moving to Ulster?

Peter Browne: Meeting my wife.

Graham Daniels: Ah, bon-on! See he knows how to answer a question properly, cover his back. You met Hannah, got married in 2017?

Peter Browne: Yes. Yeah.

Graham Daniels: Yeah. And that was, you did meet her when you moved to play-

Peter Browne: Met her out there.

Graham Daniels: Well listen, we don't want to just be, we don't want this podcast to be all hardheaded do we? You're like a bit macho really, because you know, like that. How did you meet Hannah?

Peter Browne: I met Hannah at church. So, you know you got a good one when you meet her at church. So I met her through a friend, and forced her to come with a group of people to the cinema. And then made sure I sat next to her. And then the rest was up to her.

Graham Daniels: Did you know straight away Pete?

Peter Browne: I knew that I wanted to get to know her, that's dor sure. And-

Graham Daniels: Did you?

Peter Browne: Yeah. She's a beautiful woman, inside and out.

Graham Daniels: Yeah. See every partnership's got a star in it, doesn't it?

Peter Browne: Yeah. And she's the star.

Graham Daniels: The concussion, everyone involved in rugby now, I think ... Well let me rephrase that. When you're outside of rugby, I work in soccer, and you're looking in with the greatest respect for the way that rugby has managed concussion issues because of the seriousness of it. But in that respect for you, a significant number of concussions has drawn your career to a close at the end of last year. As you look back on your Ulster years, what would you reflect on as things that have stuck in your brain from it?

Peter Browne: A privilege to have the opportunity to play at a club like that. Also the culture of the club was fantastic in terms of number, there was a number of Christian guys, we had a weekly Bible study. Those things are things that stay with me, great bunch of guys who I played with. And it was still, it was still tough, like it was still tough. I had times where coaches didn't pick me for a long, long time and that was difficult. I wish it had all been rosy, but those, I think how you carry on in those times as well is, keep being a professional and keep, try and keep some perspective while you're not being picked is important as well.

Graham Daniels: Now Pete, let me dive in on you there because this is really well documented in elite sport, right? There's a culture, there'll be a culture in rugby, versions of this, there'll be a culture in all the sports, team sports, where you've got to show willing, right? It's all about the team. You better conform to the culture. You better be really cheerful when they win, and you better all in. But you know you're not wanted, and if you don't play the game, you really are a villain.

So your alternatives are play the game for the boys, but do you take the coach on or not? Do you go and see, are you the kind of boy who knocks on his door all the time? Because often coaches say, "Oh I like a boy who knocks on my door because he's pushy." As a Christian then, in the lowest moments at Ulster let's say, you know he doesn't fancy you, he's putting somebody else in all the time. Did you play the game of being team first? Did you take the coach on? How did your relationship with Christ genuinely inform that? Because everybody knows it hurts like mad. What did you really do with it?

Peter Browne: Like I don't know if I got it right, otherwise I probably would have played more. So, but I tried to put the team first, and to prove stuff in training, and to train as hard as I could. And I did have conversations with the coach, but I was never going to be pushy and arrogant enough to say, "You should pick me." Because at that time when you're not being picked for a long time, you're having questions about your own performance. Like is this justified? Is it not? So there's a battle going on. There was a battle going on there in myself, am I good enough? Is this it? What do I do? Where does my identity come from? Again, ultimately it comes-

Graham Daniels: I'm fascinated by that. You come back there.

Peter Browne: Yeah.

Graham Daniels: Is that your baseline? You've said it four or five times in this interview. My identity is the determinant factor in all the ups and downs of it. Is that where you've drawn your intellectual emotional line?

Peter Browne: Yeah.

Graham Daniels: All the time?

Peter Browne: Definitely. Yeah. I think it's got me through having that, trying to maintain that perspective as I said earlier, has been key to me getting through adversity. Because it's a perspective that goes beyond any circumstance that this, that rugby can throw at me, and I've been thrown a lot of them. I haven't been thrown all of them, and I don't know how I would react to all of them, but what I have been thrown, yeah. I've tried to react in a way, knowing that truth of my identity, and reminding myself of that truth, and trying to prove that by the way that I live. You know, I was playing for the A team most of my penultimate year at Ulster. And we had a really good bunch of young guys who were all coming through now at Ulster, and I think in, that was good to be able to be part of that team and to instill good coaching, but instill a level of professionalism, be trusted in that environment. And I was able to play hard in that, but it wasn't where I wanted to be, but I was still able to play.

Graham Daniels: Do you think Pete, in that situation, you've talked about what you internalized. Okay? Here's the psychology behind if you like, all the spirituality, that's the line. So, I'm in Christ actually, independent of how well I play or not. You internalize that, very hard question to ask you this because it, modesty prevails really probably. But do you think that because of that you were able to be genuinely interested in other players, as opposed to having to present yourself as somebody who was?

Peter Browne: Yeah.

Graham Daniels: Yes is the answer?

Peter Browne: Yeah.

Graham Daniels: So that's interesting, you come straight back at me, "Yes I could."

Peter Browne: Yes.

Graham Daniels: Yes I could. You were aware of that?

Peter Browne: Yes. Yeah.

Graham Daniels: Talk me through what that looks like, when the coach doesn't fancy you, you're out of the team for a few months. You were with the youngsters, right? You're a senior pro. What does that look like, genuine care for others?

Peter Browne: Genuinely care for others, and genuinely showing care, I'm not a social, so. But I genuinely cared about playing with those guys. And that involves traveling over for the quarter final of the British and Irish Cup, being on the coach with the guys and having conversations. Having conversations about everything and anything, about God. Heading out with those guys after the games and, in Swansea at some points, and being there, being present and wanting the best for them because I wanted, yeah. The perspective that gives me is that these guys are worth more than this rugby, you know? They're, and they've got a, yeah.

And so that's not to internalize it again, not to make it a logical thing again, but if I believe in the gospel, so the gospel, Jesus came, I am a sinner. He came and he saved me through his death and resurrection, his perfect life. That was the debt that needed to be paid so that I could have a relationship with God. If I believe that, that I can have a relationship with God, the God who created the whole universe, the God who is ultimately powerful and in control of everything, surely I'd want other people to know that.

Surely I'd want these guys to somehow, not in a, "I'm going to bash him with a Bible and tell you, if you don't do this you know where you're going." But in a way of saying, "Actually, I'm going through a tough time. You can see that I'm not getting picked, but I want to talk to you. I want to be your mate. I want to try." I'm going to fail because I'm, I don't get things right all the time. As Christians would say, we'd say that I'm a sinner. My perspective's going to be wrong. My heart's going to be wrong, but I'm going to try. Because of that grace, because of that love that is undeserved, I've experienced that.

Graham Daniels: I'm conscious that I've picked up on issues that I think all elite players face in one way or another with a relationship with Christ or not. And I'm so fascinated always by the difference knowing Christ can make to the career. So it'll feel, my own instinct is it might feel a bit negative the way I'm pressing you on questions here. So I've got two things left at the end. Number one, 12 years as a pro, there's no chance you play 12 years. You know, we've told stories about when it wasn't easy a bit, but the reality is nobody ... You can get one contract as a professional athlete, it's not that hard to get one if you showed talent as a kid, you don't get four clubs. It's just not possible. So you're a very high level, elite, professional athlete. That's what you've been, and just finished doing as a job. Pinpoint for me the very best two minutes of your career. What are the two minutes where you've gone, "Oh my word, when I die I'll have remembered those two minutes." What were they?

Peter Browne: Good question. One of them would be, made my debut for Newcastle Falcons against Wasps in the Premiership. And I came on for a kickoff, Wasps had just scored. And this is just, I don't know the, yeah. And the kickoff is kicked, and I, I'm 20, 21, 22 and I'm rapid then, I used to be fast. I used to be fast. Used to play sevens and everything. And the ball's basically on James Haskell and I absolutely, he won't remember this obviously, but I absolutely smashed it. He wouldn't know who I was, but I absolutely smashed him and got a knock on first. So first thing I did in Premiership rugby was that I forced a turn over because I just ran rapidly and hit James Haskell. So that was a good start.

Graham Daniels: Was it, can you remember the feeling of that now Pete?

Peter Browne: Yeah.

Graham Daniels: The rush of it. The buzz of it.

Peter Browne: Yeah, yeah.

Graham Daniels: Bang.

Peter Browne: Yeah.

Graham Daniels: Bang, and everyone's gone. On their feet, you know?

Peter Browne: Yeah. Like making that and then the pats on the back and everything. It was great. And then, and that's the thing like I'm, I was gifted physically. That was one of the things, I was pretty fast, I was big, I was tall, and I was strong so I was gifted physically, which is, which I'm very thankful for. And then another one was in the final against Bristol at the home final, you had two legs to the final for playing for London Welsh. And we were the underdogs, massive underdogs. And we absolutely obliterated Bristol. And I had a really good game, and I got a key turnover which led to a try. So we, we're defending, we're defending, we're defending. Someone tackles a boy, I get in over the ball, I rip the ball off, our guy picks it up, pops it off to someone and he's down the other end, like 80 meters, scoring. And I'm just getting off the ground as this is happening. And everyone is cheering and running over, we've just turned defense into attack. That was a great moment again.

Graham Daniels: Rammed house, full house?

Peter Browne: Yeah. Well as full as London Welsh gets. It was, but it was on TV and it was in, oddly enough, it was in Oxford where we played, we played the Kassam Stadium. So yeah. But for me, I think another highlight, I know I'm not meant to do three, but another highlight is my first try for Ulster was, I scored against Treviso, and that was just a great moment at Kingspan and yeah, fantastic to be able to do that as well.

Graham Daniels: Well, I'm delighted to hear there was a try in there somewhere because so far all I heard was defense, defense, turn overs.

Peter Browne: That was the nature of being a forward.

Graham Daniels: That's your job.

Peter Browne: Yeah.

Graham Daniels: That's your job.

Peter Browne: Yeah.

Graham Daniels: Good. Now friends, you see I've forced him, I had to really force him. I knew they were in there. There was a buzz in there that had to come out and I'm just pushing him on all the tricky issues. So you're the boy in charge, you just retired. He needs to be able to say something confident.

Peter Browne: Yeah.

Graham Daniels: Right, well here we are then. Time's gone, obviously it's the rugby World Cup, we're in the midst of it, it's about to start. Never been so open. What are you thinking? Remember now, you can be judged on this.

Peter Browne: Yeah. Yeah. My heart says, obviously I'd love Ireland to do well. I think that they're going to have a tough quarter final, either against New Zealand or South Africa. So the Welsh are a good team, tough situation with Rob Howley though. Interesting. Just come out today with that whole, whether that upsets things. But they've got Steven Jones going out to coach, who's a very, very good coach.

So yeah, Warren Gatland, obviously knows how to steer the ship. I don't think you can look past New Zealand. Like I just, you just get that feeling. And South Africa are very strong at the minute as well. And England have such a strength and depth as well. You know, they got a couple of injuries, maybe not in key positions, like if Vunipola got injured I think they would really struggle, either Vunipola, But mainly the number eight. So because he's just such a key pull carrier for them, he just gets go forward. But yeah, I think England could do really well. So it is, it's so open.

Graham Daniels: So open, yeah. Its never been so open really.

Peter Browne: But I, like I would probably go for New Zealand in my head, an Ireland in my heart. Rory Best, if he could lift that trophy at the end of, what a career. Yeah, that'd be great to see him do that.

Graham Daniels: All right then. Well you heard it here first, but he kind of hedged his bet really.

Peter Browne: Where's that fence? I think I'm sitting on it right now.

Graham Daniels: Yeah you might be on the middle of it.

Peter Browne: Its a bit painful. It's a bit spiky, it's a bit spiky.

Graham Daniels: You're a bit tall for that fence. Tremendous. Pete, top drawer, really enjoyed it. And I'll tell you something, I hope they're all as much fun as seeing big Peter Browne and any day of the week, I'll do that again.

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