New Scotland prop Zander Fagerson was mountain bike champion

Scotland's Zander Fagerson in training at St Andrews. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU

Scotland's Zander Fagerson in training at St Andrews. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU

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Zander Fagerson was a national mountain bike champion as a schoolboy but his boyhood dream was always to play rugby for Scotland.

And the Glasgow prop is closing in on that ambition after joining up with Vern Cotter’s RBS Six Nations training squad.

His decision to focus on rugby in his mid-teens had already been justified before getting a call-up on his 20th birthday but Fagerson is hungry for more progress.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “Playing for Scotland was a boyhood dream and I’ve had to pinch myself a few times.

“I never thought about it that much recently. I just focused on playing well for Glasgow and if the call came, the call came.

“It was fantastic hearing that on my birthday which made it an extra special day. The call-up was great but to play for Scotland is my new goal.

“When I was 16 and 17, my dream was to become a professional rugby player and I’ve already accomplished that. It’s been a massive learning curve and I’m enjoying it.

“It’s fantastic, but the hard work starts now.”

On his cycling career, the Perth-born forward said: “I wasn’t too bad back in the day. I was a wee bit lighter in those days.

“I won the Scottish championship in the under-15 category. I was invited to a British Cycling training camp but I never managed to go.

“I went to Strathallan School and the rugby took over, I put real focus on my rugby.

“I’ve got friends doing well in mountain biking and racing professionally but I’m living the dream here.

“I’m still in touch with them and they have been telling me I’m too heavy to ride a bike these days but they’re delighted with my call-up.”

Fagerson has come into a squad full of hope for the Six Nations campaign after coming agonisingly close to a World Cup quarter-final victory over Australia.

And Fagerson insists there is a belief that they can turn last year’s point-less campaign on its head.

“Everybody is optimistic,” he said. “The World Cup proves this team’s got something special.

“In the Six Nations, we were there or thereabouts last year and a few games didn’t go our way, but they were all pretty close.

“With this squad, I think we can do something special this year.”

Asked if Scotland could win the tournament, he said: “There is a belief in the squad and that is every team’s aim. Everybody is very optimistic.”

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