Where Are They Now | Danny Grewcock
Saracens have a lot to be grateful for to Kyran Bracken. His class on the pitch as a scrum half helped to provide many highlights.
But there is a hidden secret as well that is not so widely known about him. He was the man who convinced Danny Grewcock to join the ‘Men in Black’. That was quite a coup at the time and he developed into one of the best second rows of his generation.
“I was playing for Coventry, my home town team, and really enjoying my rugby in 1997. We just lost out to London Irish in a promotion battle from the Second Division and with so many England players on the Lions tour to South Africa that summer I got an unexpected call to tour Argentina with the national side,” explained Grewcock.
“I think I was about the fourth choice lock, and it was unusual to dip down into the second division. Then I got a big break when Ollie Redman was called up as a replacement by the Lions and I won my first cap in Argentina.
“It was on that tour that I first got to know Kyran and it was through him that I switched from Coventry to Saracens. We even shared a house together during my time there, along with Jake Niarchos.
“I didn’t think I’d ever get the chance to play in the Premiership and get capped – it was all a bit of a dream. Even when I first joined Sarries I didn’t feel as though I deserved to be playing alongside the legends like Lynagh, Pienaar and Sella.
“One was the world’s leading points scorer, another had captained a World Cup winning team and the other was the leading cap holder in the game. It was incredible and they were still playing amazing rugby.
“On top of that, Paul Wallace and Richard Hill had just returned from the 1997 Lions tour to South Africa, where they had beaten the Springboks. Everywhere I looked there were world class players.
“I loved playing in the second row with Paddy Johns and we were a successful side in my first year at the club.
“It was just a great time and I’m still in touch with a lot of the players from that era. I met some amazing people and the quality of the matches carried me along.”
Grewcock certainly flourished in the Saracens environment and he eventually won 69 caps and played in five Tests on two tours with the Lions. Had it not been for a toe injury picked up in a pool match, he might well have been packing down alongside Martin Johnson in the England second row in the 2003 World Cup final.
After four years of giving his all at Vicarage Road for Saracens he decided to move on to a new challenge at Bath, where he spent 10 seasons before hanging up his boots at the age of 38. Some career for a player who initially felt he didn’t deserve a seat at the top table!
“I spent four more years at Bath after I finished playing working with their academy. Then I went off to Oundle School to become their director of sport,” explained Grewcock.
“I spent three years there before switching to work with Matt Salter at Clifton College. I also work with the Bristol Academy and they are two roles I really enjoy.
“My mother was a schoolteacher and it’s great working with young people, trying to improve them as people and players. I’m a sixth form tutor in Wiseman’s House and the school has eight boys who are linked to the Bristol Bears U18 side.
“Matt and I are responsible for the 1st and 2nd XVs and the sevens team. We also now have a girls programme at the school.
“I find sport is a brilliant way to help people to develop a whole range of skills.”
DANNY GREWCOCK’S SARACENS DREAM TEAM
This is Danny’s Dream Team. Instead of putting himself in the second row he felt he had to install Maro Itoje, even though he hadn’t played with him!
15 Gavin Johnson
14 Ryan Constable
13 Philippe Sella
12 Steve Ravenscroft
11 Richard Wallace
10 Michael Lynagh
9 Kyran Bracken
1 Roberto Grau
2 George Chuter
3 Paul Wallace
4 Paddy Johns
5 Maro Itoje
6 Francois Pienaar
7 Richard Hill
8 Tony Diprose