Matt Fagerson identifies key areas Scotland need to be wary of against Dave Rennie’s Australia

It will be a case of friends reunited on Sunday as Matt Fagerson faces up to an Australia side whose coaching team includes three Glasgow Warriors alumni.

Matt Fagerson enjoyed working under Dave Rennie at Glasgow Warriors. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Matt Fagerson enjoyed working under Dave Rennie at Glasgow Warriors. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

The Scotland No 8 is looking forward to catching up with them after the match, particularly head coach Dave Rennie, a man who had a major influence on him during his time at Scotstoun.

Rennie had Matt Taylor and Petrus du Plessis alongside him while in charge at Glasgow and Taylor is now Australia’s defence coach while du Plessis is their scrum expert.

Together they have helped revive a Wallabies side which has arrived in Europe on the back of a five-match winning streak.

Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie during an Australia training session at Peffermill sports fields in Edinburgh. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Fagerson hopes to use a bit of inside knowledge to put that run to an end at Murrayfield but knows Scotland need to be alert to opponents whose sense of adventure is the Rennie hallmark.

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“They love to play from deep and they are pretty brutal in contact,” Fagerson said. “They have some great jackalers as well. I thought he was a brilliant coach, a play-before-you-kick sort of coach, and he brought that into the whole squad. He’s doing an amazing job with Australia. I think he has put his own spin on Australian rugby and where he wants them to go.”

The Warriors forward says Scotland need to trust their systems against the Wallabies but he also knows they have to be wary of Rennie’s risk-taking.

“They won’t be afraid to play. I remember when we played Exeter at home one year we scored two tries from our own five-metre line. That was the way he wanted us to play and I think we came out on top by about 20 points in that game. I think they will try to play expansive rugby and keep the ball in hand.

“I’m very fond of Dave,” Fagerson added. “I thought he was a great coach and he was really good to me. If I was playing poorly he would tell me and if I was playing well you would tell me that as well.

“We have some good honest discussions about things to work on, things I was doing well and why he was picking me and sometimes why I missed out. I really respect that.”

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