LESS than a year ago, Fraser Brown was forced to contemplate hanging up his boots for good.

A serious foot injury, suffered during the Pro14 final last May, was so severe that both Brown and the Scottish Rugby medical staff though it may well be a career-ended.

However, the hooker refused to admits to defeat and so instead of watching Scotland from the sidelines these days, he is in the mix and is poised to win his fiftieth cap when France visit Murrayfield in the Six Nations on Sunday.

It will, admits the Glasgow Warriors man, be quite a day for him and while he is keen to prepare for this game in the same way he would any other international, he cannot help but feel reaching this milestone is quite an achievement, particularly considering he was unsure if he would ever get even a single cap.

“You approach it the same way (as every other game) but I’d be lying if I said if it wasn’t a big thing,” the 30-year-old said of reaching 50 caps.

“Eight or nine years ago, I didn’t think I was going to get one cap so that fact that I could reach 50 at the weekend is a big deal for me and my family.

“It’s pretty well documented that I had a lot of injuries when I was younger – if you’re going through that and you still think you’re going to go on and play for Scotland then you’re probably a bit delusional.

“It was a big injury (last summer). It took quite a while to come back from it and there were periods when myself and the medics maybe didn’t think I was going to be able to do it but that’s all water under the bridge now.

“So to come back from that and be fit and playing reasonably well and in contention, it’s a decent achievement and something I’m looking forward to at the weekend.”

Brown had metal plates inserted in his foot to hold it together and recovered so quickly, he even made it into Gregor Townsend’s squad for the World Cup last year. Since then, he has cemented his place in the international side, with every bit of experience likely to be vital when the French visit on Sunday.

Fabien Galthie’s side are on course for the grand slam having played some extremely impressive rugby so far this Six Nations. And while Scotland claimed their first win of the tournament against Italy almost two weeks ago, Brown was quick to stress that while he and his compatriots were happy with many aspects of that game, they were far from satisfied about their overall performance in Rome. And, says Brown, the side are well aware they must go up another level if they are to take anything from the France clash.

“The Italy game was frustrating as we left a lot of stuff out there in attack. We need to be more clinical and a bit more professional to ensure we don’t switch off in every area. It is something we have got to get better at,” he said.

“What there’s been in every French team I’ve played whether club or international is big, powerful men who play well, run off nine, carry hard.

“Their set-piece is generally pretty good and they try to use their physicality and size to get on top of teams there. Perhaps what they’ve changed in the last six to seven weeks they’ve got a little more direct than they have been in the past. I think with Shaun Edwards coming in (as defence coach), their defence has improved quite substantially and part of that is because they’re playing less risky rugby.

“They will be feeling on form as they are playing well. Their defence has been going well and they how scored quite a number of tries early on in games. They try to start well and put teams under pressure so that is what i imagine they will try to do at Murrayfield.”

Scotland’s scrummaging has been much improved this tournament, due in no small part to the presence of Pieter de Villiers, who came in as Scotland’s scrum coach ahead of the Six Nations.

Brown has a wealth of experience behind him but has not always had the luxury of working under specialist coaches and he, as well as the rest of the scrum, are reaping the benefits already.

“I feel that in the modern game, there’s so much to focus on that to have specialist coaches is an added bonus,” he said.

The way Pieter has come in has been brilliant- he’s been welcomed by everyone, he’s got a great personality in the group, he gets on well with everyone but the detail and the passion that he bring to that area of the game has been taken on board by everyone and you can see the improvements we’ve had already in such a short period of time.

"It’s not easy whether it’s scrum, defence wherever, to make big changes in such a short window like the Six Nations is, particularly when you’ve got a lot of new guys coming into the squad, new combinations and I think that’s testament to how well he’s fitted in, and Steve Tandy (defence coach) as well, how hard they work and how receptive the whole squad has been to their ideas the fact that our defence has been going very well and our scrum has been going very well.”