Whilst Gloucester Rugby ponder what to do at scrum half next season when Greig Laidlaw leaves the club to go and play in France, 22 year old Callum Braley is trying to convince the Kingsholm hierarchy that their solution is under their noses.
The young Bristolian had played in the Challenge Cup and Anglo Welsh Cup this season before a cameo role at Saracens recently in the Premiership, but alongside more than 30 appearances for Gloucester his cv also containes a degree in Leadership and Management. It’s a more than useful club in his bag.
“The degree opened up ideas and helped me in terms of how I act and present myself in certain situations” Braley said. “I’m comfortable leading teams – I’ve done it since I was at school – and a scrum half has to control the forwards in front of him. A large part of that is confidence and having the respect of your team mates. That’s not something you can demand, you earn it over a period of time by training well and backing it up with your match performances. The more consistent you are, the more respect you get, but it can be knocked down in an instant.”
Braley confessed it wasn’t easy mixing as a teenager at Bristol with seasoned first teamers and a handful of experienced internationals. They were struggling to get out of the Championship, and Braley felt he needed to be at a Premiership club for his career to progress. As I recall, Gloucester kept the move under wraps for some time before it was announced, and now, in his third season at Kingsholm, he’s in a position very much in the spotlight since Laidlaw’s departure was confirmed.
“None of us know what will happen next” Braley said. “I have two good scrum halves in front of me in Greig and Willi Heinz with a vast amount of experience and knowledge they can pass on, but the club might decide to replace one international with another international. My aim for this season has always been to play more than I have done previously and not lose the instinct to see what’s in front of you and play accordingly.”
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