Zander Fagerson ‘lucky and privileged’ to play with brother for club and country
Scotland prop Zander Fagerson will continue to savour every moment of playing alongside his younger brother for club and country.
The Glasgow Warriors siblings have been mainstays of the national team for much of the past five years, with 27-year-old Zander having accumulated 55 caps since his debut in 2016 and 24-year-old number eight Matt notching 30 appearances since his bow in dark blue two years later.
Both are expected to start in Sunday’s high-stakes Guinness Six Nations match against France in Paris, and Zander is adamant he will never take it for granted that he and his brother are able to represent their country together.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” he said when asked to reflect on the fact they have both become such integral members of Gregor Townsend’s burgeoning team. “One of my best moments in a Scotland shirt was when he got his first cap in America. It was so special.
“I make sure I enjoy every game I play for Glasgow or Scotland because you never know when it might stop. I’m really lucky and really privileged to be able to play with him.”
The Fagersons have a light-hearted sibling rivalry. In an interview earlier this week, Matt joked that the student had become the master and that he was now offering tips and advice to his older brother, but Zander dismissed any such notion.
“He’s getting a bit ahead of himself if he thinks he’s the master,” smiled the prop. “He is doing alright.
“We are quite harsh with each other. We like to bully each other up. If I’m looking to do extras after training I always pick him because I know he’s not going to give it to me easy.
“We try to better ourselves every week. But he’s definitely not the master!”
Zander is delighted at the way Matt has followed in his footsteps and cemented himself in the national team over the past few years.
“I’m always really proud of him and it’s great to see him get the plaudits he deserves,” he said. “He’s been doing it for a number of years now.
He’s getting a bit ahead of himself if he thinks he's the master. He is doing alright.
“He’s doing what I’ve always seen him do and I’m just really proud of him. I’m making sure he keeps his feet on the ground and making sure he can back it up.”
The elder Fagerson brother’s involvement in the Six Nations was in doubt after he suffered a hamstring injury at the start of December. After sitting out the opening Six Nations victory away to England, he was thrown straight back into the starting XV for the recent home win over Wales.
“I was pretty worried at the start with the mechanism of the injury,” when asked if he was always confident he could recover in time to play in the tournament.
“I didn’t know I had hamstrings because I usually don’t go fast enough to hurt them! I heard a pop and thought, ‘oh no, here we go’. It was kind of a rollercoaster.
“At first I felt it was all right but I got my scan and went to see a specialist and he said it looked pretty serious.
“On a weekly basis I had little small goals that I kept ticking off. I’m quite an impatient guy so I had those little goals to keep me happy and progressing every week. And here we are now. I was really lucky I had that group around me to keep me going.”
Fagerson is hoping to enjoy his second victory in successive visits to Paris after the Scots triumphed in a behind-closed-doors match in the French capital two years ago.
“We won over there without fans so it will be a bit different having fans back, but that excites me” he said. “It is the same sort of personnel with them, same sort of threat all across the park.
“With the fans back, it will be a different atmosphere but we are definitely up for it. We just have to make sure we can block out the noise and if we stick to our game-plan we can get a win.”
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