At the start of this season, Matt Fagerson had his sights set on being on the plane which set off from Edinburgh Airport last night, carrying the Scotland Under-20 team to the south of France to compete over the next four weeks in the World Rugby U20 Championship.
The fact that he didn’t make that flight has nothing to do with injury or loss of form. On the contrary, everything has gone so well during his first season as a full-time pro that the 19-year-old is now gearing up instead to head over to the Americas with the senior Scotland squad, and the odds are stacked in favour of the rambunctious back-row making his international debut at some point on the trip.
He is now firmly established as the Warriors’ first choice blindside flanker, having started in 11 of the team’s last 12 games, and is growing in confidence and influence with every match.
“It has been awesome year. My target was just to make a good impression, I didn’t expect to play as much as I have,” said Fagerson, who has been presented with the Sir Willie Purves quaich from Friends of Scottish Rugby as Young Scottish Player of Year.
While the opportunity to become the first teenager to pick up a Scotland cap since Stuart Hogg in 2012 is obviously a thrilling prospect, Fagerson admits to some disappointment at missing out on his last major tournament as an age-grade player.
“The Under-20s World Cup last year was awesome – it was one of the best experiences in my life to have four weeks with your mates – and we had an excellent run of games to beat Australia and Wales. I was really gutted, in a way, not to be going – but at the end of the day you are not going to turn down a tour call,” he added.