Despite a flood of signings at the GK IPA Haberden over the summer, Yasin Browne has revealed there is already a strong unity in the dressing room at Bury St Edmunds.
The second row specialist, who has caps for Ireland at schoolboy level, was the first close-season signing to be announced by the club, but in the six weeks that has followed has been joined at pre-season by 11 other new recruits.
But well-travelled Browne, who was most recently playing in France for Olympique de Besanco, following spells in Canada and New Zealand — where he played in Super League Crusaders’ academy — does not feel there will be a problem of trying to forge a team spirit and hit the ground running together.
With the new-look Wolfpack side getting into action for the first time this weekend, with their pre-season campaign beginning at now higher-league Bishop’s Stortford (2.30pm), he said: “I came over at the same time as the Italians (Luca Merolle, Federico Silvestri and Daniele Greco) and Boyde (Rouse), and we just gelled together from the off. It was very easy.
“The rest of the lads that have come in have just brought into everything we are trying to build since July. It has been very, very good in fairness.
“There is definitely a unity and I think everyone shares the same ambition; just to improve on last year.
“I think there was a bit of second season syndrome in National Two and results did not go their way, as they should of. It is just trying to correct the wrongs from last year and just be the dominant team that everyone knows we can be.”
Browne, who can also operate as a number eight or flanker, was schooled in rugby at the Christian Brothers College near his hometown in Cork, where he won the provisional college cup before playing representational rugby for Munster and progressed to winning the highly prestigious Irish Junior Cup with Cork Constitution. But it was his experience on the over side of the globe that he believes helped mould him to the player Bury fans will soon see now. “I got to train and play with Crusaders for a while and was there with two lads from Scotland, one of which was one of the new Lions in Finn Russell,” he explained.
“I got to see rugby from a different light and it is an absolute eye-opener. It really changed my perception of rugby; how to play and how to be a better person on-and-off the pitch and how you need to dedicate yourself and make sure you have a healthy balance.”
The player has agreed a two-year deal with Bury, and was signed under now-departed head coach Jon Clarke, who left before overseeing a game for personal reasons, to be replaced by former Leicester Tigers centre Ollie Smith. “Personally it turned things on its head a bit, but Ollie has been absolutely unbelievable,” Browne said. “I could not speak highly enough of him. He knows what he wants but is so open minded to what players have as well. He is well able to listen and take things on board.
“He knows that as long as we are enjoying it then things are going to go well.”
Bury’s performance director, Terry Sands, has not ruled out ‘one or two’ further signings before the season starts on September 2 at home to Tonbridge Juddians (3pm).