New dad Zander Fagerson has spring in step as Glasgow eye Pro14 glory

It is a week alive with possibilities for Glasgow Warriors and Scottish rugby but Zander Fagerson has plenty to smile about even without the prospect of a Celtic Park showpiece against Leinster tomorrow evening.

Zander Fagerson is celebrating the arrival of his baby daughter and hopes to be also toasting Pro14 glory this weekend. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS/SRU

The 23-year-old tighthead prop is a new father after the late arrival of daughter Iona last Tuesday and insisted that, despite the sleepless nights, the joy of fatherhood and full recovery from an injury-blighted season means he has a spring in his step going into tomorrow’s final.

“She was supposed to come in April when we didn’t have a game but she came in semi-final week which was brilliant!” said Fagerson with a smile.

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“It has been awesome. I am really enjoying it. Best job in the world.”

Fagerson broke his ankle against Cheetahs at the start of the season which was initially thought to have ruled him out of the Six Nations. He did recover in time, but only featured in the away loss to France during the tournament, while easing his way back to full 
fitness at Scotstoun.

That means that, while for many, tomorrow will be the end of a long hard slog of a season, he is approaching the business end as a new beginning,

“I didn’t snap it [my ankle] to be fresh for now!” clarified the prop. “When I was rehabbing I wasn’t in a dark place as I had a great support network around me. I was doing all that rehab, doing all the extras, coming in day in, day out, pounding away. It’s all worth it as the boys were doing such an 
awesome job on the pitch.”

Today’s captain’s run will be Fagerson’s first taste of Celtic Park. “I was a Peterhead fan growing up,” said the Perthshireman.

“That’s through my grandfather. He was a fisherman up there. I’m not built for football as you can tell. I knew that from a young age.”

Fagerson is very much built for scrummaging more than tanner ba’ skills and is relishing tomorrow’s battle with Leinster’s formidable pack.

“They have a British and Irish Lions front row in Tadhg Furlong, Sean Cronin and Cian Healy. It’s a big challenge and we played them already [Glasgow winning 39-24 in Dublin last month]. Munster did a good job on them at the weekend [in the Pro14 semi-final, which Leinster won 24-9]. We will do our analysis. See where they are weak, where they’re strong.

“When it comes to finals rugby, then Leinster are a different animal. Same as the other Irish provinces, they step it up another level so we can’t read anything into that game three weeks ago. It is a clean slate.”

In that April game Leinster brought on that Lions front-trio off the bench and Glasgow demolished them in the next scrum, which is a cause for satisfaction and confidence in the home camp. “We have a pretty dynamic front row as well,” said Fagerson. He was one of the young pups coming through when Glasgow won the Pro12 in 2015 with that win over Munster in Belfast and is desperate to play a full part in securing a second title for 
the club.

“I played eight games that year but was ill for the semi-final and told not to come in,” he recalled. “I was at the junior World Cup in Italy when the final was on and watched it over there, which was awesome but I was gutted I wasn’t there to support the boys.

“A few things have changed but this is what you work every day for, why you come in and it is an exciting time.”