It was a very hard decision
After eight seasons of fierce dedication and commitment to the Western Force, this week Richard Brown will play his final game in front of the Sea of Blue before heading to Japanese club, Heat, and a new chapter in his rugby career.
The robust back row, who became only the sixth player to win 50 caps for the franchise, joined the club in 2006 and has so far amassed 88 caps along the way.
Brown says his decision was based on chasing a different ‘rugby experience’.
“I think I was at risk of becoming stale and that wouldn’t have been good for either me or the club,” he said.
“It was a very hard decision to step away from the Force and experience something new.
“At this point of my life I just didn’t want to run the risk of being here eight years and not experiencing something different.”
In a world where elite sportsmen often tarnish their records in a bid to squeeze an extra year or two out of themselves, Brown leaves the competition knowing he could still wield a heavy influence on matches.
“In a sporting career you want to dodge as many regrets as you can,” he said, “I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I would regret not getting the experience.”
In a decorated career that includes 23 Wallaby caps, Brown reflects that the fondest memories of his rugby career surround the people he has met along the way.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play with some great players and great players are generally great people,” he said. “They’ve had a big influence on my life and that’s what I look fondly back upon.
“Obviously from outsiders looking in there has been highs and lows but even in the hard times I have enjoyed myself here, so I think that’s a reflection of how I feel about the place.”
Although the Force has endured a tough initiation to the Super Rugby competition, Brown firmly believes principles developed this season will ensure success for the franchise in the not-too-distant future.
“I regret that maybe we haven’t had the success that this club probably deserved in my time here,” he said.
“In the past I don’t think we had consistency in leadership positions at the club.
“Moving forward the people installed as the directors of this team in terms of coaches and management are finally the right people.”
Despite not collecting any silverware in his time at the Force, Brown hopes the constant support and tireless passion of people involved in rugby in Western Australia will be rewarded soon enough.
“The people who are around the club and support the Force from local club level, they are the people that I really wish receive the success of the franchise,” he said.
“These people have been involved in WA rugby for decades and they are the ones who deserve to see the Force succeed.”
Brown’s 89th and final game for the Western Force will be against the Brumbies at nib stadium on Saturday.