Having missed almost all of last season with an ankle injury, before spending the World Cup playing second fiddle to WP Nel, Zander Fagerson has returned to Glasgow Warriors duty bursting with energy and with a point to prove.
His 17 carries in the team’s victory over Zebre last weekend stands testament to his desire to make an impact for the team as he looks to push his case for more involvement during the Six Nations – but before that there is the small matter of Warriors’ Champions Cup campaign, which kicks off on Saturday afternoon with a visit to Scotstoun from Sale Sharks. “I actually think I got a few more carries, although I wasn’t counting,” quipped the tighthead prop. “After the game I definitely felt it. I’m just trying to help the team in any way I can.
“I got told [by the Scotland coaching team at the end of the World Cup] that I had stuff to work on and what I needed to do to be starting,” he added. “I’m just getting back and enjoying my rugby. Ball carrying is a part of my game that I really enjoy, and it helps the team out. I’ll do as much as I can. I’m just trying to work as hard as I can and do what I can for the team.”
Fagerson, pictured, has always been a willing carrier, which is a real bonus for any team, but there have been concerns in the past about the robustness of his scrummaging – although, at 23 years of age, he is still a baby playing in a position where players don’t tend to come into their prime until their late 20s. He insists that the less glamorous side of front-row play is an area where he feels most at home.
“If you don’t get 100 per cent scrum ball you can’t really play off it. That World Cup final completely proved that. It is a massive part of the game. It’s great to see free-flowing rugby, but the dark arts are just as important and something I really love doing. I’m glad it’s now front and centre of rugby again,” he said.
“Scrummaging is always a battle. Premiership teams think they can get one over us. Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to play on Saturday and it will be a good set-piece battle. I’m looking forward to it.”
“When it comes to the Champions Cup, everyone goes up a level,” he added.
“Training has a bit more bite, a bit more intensity, which is great. It’s a big competition, a big stage and we want to do ourselves proud. The way the boys have trained this week, they are definitely looking sharp, so we are looking forward to it.”