Zander Fagerson 'back in the groove' for Glasgow Warriors after tough Autumn Nations
After a disjointed start to the 2021-22 campaign, Glasgow Warriors prop Zander Fagerson feels like he is finally hitting his best form in time for a crucial seven-week spell which could make or break his club’s season.
The 25-year-old was given an extended break after touring with the Lions during the summer, returning for just one club game, only to disappear off on Autumn Test Series duty with Scotland the next weekend.
He was then rested again when Warriors lost away to Benetton two weekends ago, before coming back into the side which picked up a bonus-point win over Dragons last Saturday.
Fagerson understands that it was in his best interests that he was managed so cautiously. After all, he plays arguably the most physically demanding position on the park so injury and burn-out are very real threats. But he makes no secret of his frustration that all this time on the sidelines has adversely impacted his form.
So, now he is now looking forward to stringing a run of games together starting with Sunday’s Champions Cup clash against La Rochelle at Stade Marcel Deflandre.
“It’s the first time I have been up for selection two weeks in a row for Glasgow, so it is great being back with the boys, and I’m just really looking forward to getting back out there,” said Fagerson.
“It was a tough Autumn Nations campaign,” he added. “We played some good stuff as a team but from a personal point of view it wasn’t amazing. So, I’m looking forward to working on a few things and getting back in the groove.
“As a prop, you can’t really re-create match fitness. I’ve got there, eventually, but I felt pretty rusty for the first couple of games. I’m going to enjoy playing as much as I can because when I play regularly I feel my game gets better and better.”
Fagerson and Warriors will be back in Champions Cup action next Saturday, when Exeter Chiefs – including Stuart Hogg and Jonny Gray – come calling at Scotstoun, then it is straight into back-to-back 1872 Cup fixtures against Edinburgh, at home on 27 December and on the international pitch at Murrayfield on 2 January.
There is a good chance he will be given the following weekend off when the Ospreys provide the opposition on Sunday 9 January, before playing in Warriors’ Champions Cup pool stage return matches, away to the Exeter on 15 January and at home to La Rochelle a week later.
All of which means he won’t have much time off this Christmas period, but Fagerson says he, his wife and his kids are okay with that.
“It is my job and my family know that,” he shrugged. “I have never found it hard to switch on and off. I really enjoy what I do, I enjoy playing in big games, and I really enjoy the pre-match feed with the Christmas pudding and the roast turkey. It just means I need to work hard out there on the pitch, so I don’t get too plump!”
“This weekend is a different challenge,” he added. “The Top14 is very different to the United Rugby Championship, but we’ve done our homework, and we’ve got a few things up our sleeve in terms of areas where we are going to test them.
“It is going to be a really tough 80 minutes all across the park, but we’re really looking forward to it.”
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