Gloucester Rugby: Cherry and white stalwarts must be recognised says Brown
ONE day Freddie Burns will dig into a box in his attic, and dust down the keepsakes of a stellar rugby career.
Alex Brown is in the process of making sure there will be a tangible memento of the day he reached 100 competitive Kingsholm appearances.
Gloucester's rugby operations manager has been hard at work creating new ways to honour big Cherry and Whites milestones.
Fly-half Burns will notch his 100th competitive Gloucester game at Saracens on Sunday (kick-off 2pm), as the Kingsholm men battle to hit back after opening 22-16 Premiership defeat to Sale.
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Ex-Kingsholm lineout boss Brown is keeping tight-lipped on the potential weekend presentation to 23-year-old Burns, to build a bit of suspense.
But whether it's a tie, a cap or maybe even a blazer, years from now, Brown hopes Burns will fish it out of the loft and proudly show his kids.
"This is massively important," explained Brown, who himself amassed 235 Gloucester appearances before a shoulder injury cut his career cruelly short last term.
"In years gone by it's been recognised, but now we want to get out there more to the public as a rugby club.
"We want to make it a special thing for the player, that playing here is worth something and playing for a long period of time, racking up that amount of games is really something to be proud of.
"Guys like Andy Hazell have played more than 250 games – that's a hell of a lot of rugby – a lifetime of rugby at one club.
"It needs acknowledging.
"There may be an opportunity with a few of our players coming up, so we'll make sure we do that with them.
"You can look back on your time at Gloucester and be very proud of it.
"When you're playing you do see it as an achievement, but you're quickly onto the next fixture.
"A lot of these guys just have to focus on Saracens away.
"Some of these things fall by the wayside, because of the nature of the professional game.
"We're certainly making an effort to make it a priority.
"Heralding these feats of achievement is massively important, it's a rugby club and Gloucester's a proud city, and a proud place to play.
"Every player loves hitting those milestones, and I know in years to come they will look back and think, 'blimey, I did it, I got 200 or 250 in one club'.
"It's a huge achievement, and it's only right to mark it."
Brown vowed Gloucester will reflect the pride and passion of the supporters in honouring momentous club achievement in future.
The 34-year-old continued: "It doesn't happen to every club, we've got a load of players past the 100-game mark, and that's testament to Gloucester as a club and city, and the supporters.
"People want to play here because it's a special place, made so by the fans, the Kingsholm factor, the brand of rugby, the environment and the tradition.
"Having all these guys that are making these achievements shows something about the club, and something to hold up.
"It shows that we value it and care for it, not just through talking about it, and that's important.
"These are the guys who put their body on the line for the club every week, they need that recognition."