Tough debrief after defeat by Edinburgh key to Glasgow Warriors win

Zander Fagerson attempts to make a break for Glasgow Warriors during their 17-0 win over Edinburgh. Picture: SNS/SRU.
Zander Fagerson attempts to make a break for Glasgow Warriors during their 17-0 win over Edinburgh. Picture: SNS/SRU.
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Glasgow prop Zander Fagerson revealed that a brutal review of their defeat in the first 1872 Cup match bore fruit as they levelled the series with a 17-0 success.

The Warriors players endured a fitful Christmas period as they prepared to return to the office and pull apart a desperately disappointing showing at BT Murrayfield as they allowed a 14-man Edinburgh side to fight back and pip them 18-17.

Fagerson admitted the fall-out wasn’t pretty but had the desired effect as Dave Rennie, pictured, saw his men hit back at Scotstoun.

“Things didn’t click. That wasn’t us [in the first 1872 Cup game]. We had a pretty rough debrief on Thursday after four days off for Christmas,” explained the 21-year-old.

“We had a good hard look at ourselves and asked a few hard questions about where we want to be and who we want to be and how we want to play. Saturday was a start on the road. It will benefit us in the long run.

“It wasn’t an honest session, it was a review. We got told we were pretty sh** in all areas. It wasn’t fun but it needed to be done and in the long run it will benefit us. It showed us we can’t just rock up and start throwing the ball away. But we’re building and we can only get better. We’re happy heading into the new year.”

On a day when the flair players on either side cancelled each other out, there was a rare man-of-the-match award for the unglamorous role of tighthead, which came as an unexpected treat for the youngster.

“I don’t know who picked it, but fair play,” said Fagerson with a smile. “I was very surprised. But it’s nice and I’ll take it.”

With WP Nel injured and Simon Berghan on a six-week suspension, Fagerson is a precious commodity in Scottish rugby right now as that Six Nations opener in Wales looms ever larger but doesn’t know if he will have the cotton wool forced on him for this weekend’s trip to Italy when they face Zebre.

“Have you been speaking to Dave?” asked Fagerson when it was suggested he might be rested this week.

“I don’t know. If he tells me I’m not playing then I’m not playing, but I feel my form has been alright. I’ve not been 100 per cent for a few of the games but I was pretty happy today. My niggles were away so I was pretty chuffed. I got my hands on the ball so felt it went okay.”

After Zebre it will be back to Europe for games against Leinster and Exeter which Fagerson bristles at when it is suggested they are dead rubbers following four losses in the Champions Cup.

“We’ve got pride to play for. We’ll never lie down,” he insisted. “I guess a few guys will get opportunities, but we’re not here to lie down, we’re here to get wins. There are a few exciting weeks coming up leading into a busy part of the season.

“We’re getting to the business end. Saturday was a good start but we have to build on that.”

Edinburgh, by contrast, have progression in Europe very much in their hopes as the new year dawns, with the hope of a home quarter-final in the Challenge Cup the aim.

A double header against holders Stade Francais starts next weekend at Myreside and centre Phil Burleigh admits it is very much in the players’ thoughts.

He said: “Most guys will say we just think week to week. We’ve got the Southern Kings on Friday, we’ll take a lot of learning a lot of things from the Glasgow game and look to move forward in the Pro14 first. We’d like to take four or five points from the Kings game.

“But yes it’s something to look forward to against Stade Francais. A good European match, hopefully we can put them away and get a home quarter-final. We’d like to win both games of course.

“It was really good to beat them last season but they are a different outfit now. We’ll have a look at them in the coming weeks and see how we go about beating them.”

Burleigh insisted that Edinburgh would take a lot from the two games against Glasgow having won one and competed well in the other, looking arguably the more dangerous side with ball in hand at Scotstoun. “Yes there are some huge positives to take from the game,” said Scotland’s 
newest cap.

“We broke them a lot. Probably more than they did us. It was good to see. Our defence was good. It was only 6-0 with about 20 minutes to go. It’s something we’ve prided ourselves on all year. It’s something we can take away from the game.

“We’re still moving in the right direction. We put a really good effort in against a very good Glasgow side. We were more physical than we used to be and we didn’t take a step back. A fair reflection of the game would maybe have been 12-0. It was a shame they scored at the end but never mind, we move forward.”

Burleigh is sure that Edinburgh will address the failings which rendered them scoreless at Scotstoun and expects a different story at Myreside on Friday.

“We probably needed to hold on to the ball a little bit more,” said the 31-year-old. “We were probably guilty of getting down there and making nice breaks but throwing the ball away at important times. I think we’ll look back at those missed opportunities.

“At half-time we spoke about it. There must have been about ten occasions where we weren’t quite sighting the player. We’ll fix that, it’s an easy fix.”