Then a callow No.8 learning his trade with his native Border Reivers he had to be helped from the field after a sweeping haymaker from Edinburgh's player-coach Todd Blackadder smashed his jaw.
"These things happen," Brown says now of the incident. "I was maybe trying to be a little too smart and cheat and he just showed me that he didn't think I should do that again."
Apocryphal accounts of the incident suggest that as he was stretchered from the pitch Rob Dickson, the match referee, rather than discipline Blackadder, said to Brown: "You had that coming."
Scotland's new captain cannot remember whether that part is true but his pride prompts the reminder: "I actually walked off . . . but my teeth were halfway down my throat, right enough."
Consider in that light that Brown said yesterday that the dislocated fibula which wrecked his first chance of captaining Scotland earlier this year was the first serious injury he has suffered and you get a measure of the man.
Consider, too, how he spent a rare day off during last year's World Cup in New Zealand, flying down from Wellington to Christchurch laden with flowers to pay a surprise visit to the mother of one Todd Blackadder, just to say thank you for the way she and her family had looked after him nine years earlier.
"In the summer of 2002, when Todd helped out with Scotland under-21s, he said there was an opportunity to go over there if anyone would like to go. So I went over and played for a team coached by his uncle and I stayed with his mum and we got on really, really well," Brown explained. "She always said she'd be over at some point to see Todd but never made it, so when I got the opportunity to fly down it was awesome. I'd not seen her in nine years and I just showed up at the house."
As to that altercation with her son between their meetings, Brown laughed and said: "I thought it was best not to mention that."
All of the above – as tempting as it is to be sniffy about the manner in which it was done – is an indication of the respect shown by Blackadder to Brown in taking him out of that close-fought match in the way he did, and speaks to what has turned the new captain into the man he is today.
In these pages two years ago, following his impressive performance during Scotland's win over Samoa, we detailed at some length the battle he has fought during his rugby career with stammering, a condition that could have left him deeply demoralised as his contribution to team discussion was inevitably restricted.
Brown was always able to make jokes about it, notably when warning those who had voted for him to receive a player of the year award thinking they may have thought it funny forcing him to make a speech. However, the last laugh would be on them as they waited deep into the night for him to finish.
It is no coincidence that the player who was probably the least glamorous of Glasgow Warriors' all-international back-row that was 'The Killer Bs' some years ago, has grown almost visibly in stature since coming to terms with the impediment.
Increasingly, like fellow stammerers Winston Churchill and James Earl Jones, he not only has something to say but a manner of putting it across that commands respect, which is going to be crucial in his new job.
It would be all too easy to suggest that Andy Robinson's omission of Brown from his first squad in 2009 reinforces the perception that the head coach is a poor selector – Brown having made his try-scoring debut in the Frakn Hadden's first starting XV – the player is unquestionably a more imposing figure than he was three years ago.
Now 30, he has recovered from that injury which ended his 2011/12 season three days after Robinson had asked him to lead the team into the Six Nations Championship and all the demons were exorcised at the first time of asking.
"My first match back was against the same side and on the same ground I got injured on, across in Italy against Treviso," he noted.
Brown has come back stronger and more impressive than ever as those of his squad-mates who play for Edinburgh can testify after the contribution he made to their humiliating 45-0 Heineken Cup hammering by Saracens at Murrayfield last month.
There will, then, be no doubt that when the man who used to struggle to make his voice heard speaks every one of his colleagues will be making sure they listen over the next week.
The message they will hear is a straightforward one.
"This week and next, it's a lot about our roles in the team. I'm just making sure that every player knows exactly what their role is and, if we all perform our roles as well as we can, there's no reason why we can't put in a really good performance," said Brown.
If they can deliver their captain's demands as effectively as he now puts them across Scotland may do better than expected in their next two matches . . . even if the All Blacks will once again be expected to get in the more telling blows on his first day in charge.
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