Saints prop Brookes bids to bin Racing’s European hopes
Kieran Brookes has played parts in Coronation Street and Shameless, and now he is taking on the role of binman at Saints.
But rather than clearing up rubbish, the England prop has been picking up opposition props and sweeping them off the field of play.
Against Glasgow Warriors last month, Brookes locked horns with Ryan Grant in the scrum, and it took just 20 minutes for the Scotland loosehead to be yellow carded.
Six days later, Gloucester No.1 Paddy McAllister had the ignominy of being replaced after just 23 minutes, such was the dominance of Brookes.
And when asked how it feels to push opposition players off the pitch, via the bin or just pure shame, the 25-year-old laughed and said: “It’s a great feeling, but you’ve got to put it down to the other seven players as well.
“Our scrum has been successful at the start of this year because of all eight.
“You talk about front rows, but the likes of Christian Day and (Michael) Paterson have been working their backsides off in pushing really hard. Their weight makes our job a lot easier.
“When you’ve got the likes of Christian Day pushing through you, it makes it a lot simpler.”
With their pack tearing opposition eights apart, Saints have got on a roll.
Their have motored to four successive wins, which is the perfect preparation for their toughest test to date: Saturday’s Champions Cup game at Racing 92.
Brookes and Co will again be desperate to dominate, but the prop, who joined Saints from Newcastle Falcons during the summer, knows he will have to shift a man mountain if they are to do that.
“(Eddie) Ben Arous (Racing’s No.1) is a French international loosehead and it’s going to be a tough challenge,” Brookes said.
“They’ve got pretty much a full international team, a big pack and a lot of pace out wide so it’s going to be a massive test for us.
“We’ve been working hard all week and hopefully we can take our set-piece form into the weekend.”
Four days after that European encounter, Brookes will have a less serious part to play back at Franklin’s Gardens.
He has been cast as Mary in the sold-out Saintly Nativity, which has been organised by the players as a way of raising money for the Ronald McDonald House charity and Greenfields School.
“I’ve bought a wig, a blue dress and some size 11 high heels off eBay,” revealed Brookes.
It took a full four minutes to get onto the topic of rugby after the likeable prop had discussed the nativity and his roles as an extra in Corrie, in which he was pushed by an alcohol-fuelled woman, and Shameless, which saw him flirt with an older lady and eat a Dorito from her mouth.
But there is no doubt Brookes pays far more attention to his performances on the pitch rather than off it, describing himself as a ‘scrum nause’.
And when asked how that nause nature translates to his game, Brookes said: “It’s about reviewing the weekend. Anything we feel hasn’t gone well as a unit is taken to (forwards coach) Dorian West and we have a chat.
“We try to put it right and then we analyse the scrum we’re about to face at the weekend to see where they like to attack and try to counteract that.
“One on one, we try to dominate our opposition.”
And Brookes has certainly been doing that in recent weeks.