Glasgow Warriors: Lifestyle key for debutant Zander Fagerson

Zander Fagerson helped 13-man Glasgow hold on to a 40-23 win against Treviso
Zander Fagerson helped 13-man Glasgow hold on to a 40-23 win against Treviso

Glasgow Warriors prop Zander Fagerson believes young rugby players must be willing to make sacrifices in fulfilling their professional dream.

The 18-year-old tight-head made his debut in the 40-23 win at Treviso.

"It's a complete lifestyle choice but a great choice when you do make it," Fagerson told BBC Scotland.

"When your friends are going on nights out and stuff, you sort of have to say 'sorry, I can't go' because you have to do pool recovery or something."

Fagerson, from Kirriemuir, was a second half replacement in Italy and played a crucial part in helping Gregor Townsend's side defend the lead when reduced to 13 men.

Fagerson on future Scotland caps...
"It would be absolutely amazing if I did. I want to play at the highest level possible, so if the opportunity came around I would definitely grasp it. It's always in the back of my mind that I'd love to play for Scotland and go further on but I'll just take each game as it comes."

But it was not all plain-sailing on the former Glasgow Hawks man's journey to being an Elite Development player.

"There was a point in my career when I thought I wasn't getting a look in," said Fagerson, capped at U18 and U20 level.

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Interview: Glasgow Warriors tighthead prop Zander Fagerson

"I was in a terrible place and was sort of depressed and not happy at all. My mum said: 'why are you depressed? You're giving in; you're letting the people that put you down win'.

"So I strive by proving people wrong. If you work hard, change your lifestyle and get determined, they've got nothing to come back at you with.

"If I eat lots of carbohydrates I'll just put the weight on and it's not good weight. Organisation of your meals is important - what you're going to be eating and when you're going to be eating - and recovery after the games is completely crucial."

Fagerson on Glasgow's Pro12 chances...
"Our whole aim for the season is to be the first Scottish team to win the competition. Glasgow Warriors, for me, is a big family. Everyone's friends, there's no enemies. The level of professionalism is at that peak and I definitely think this could be the year."

Fagerson, a former pupil of the High School of Dundee and Strathallan School, revealed he was "over the moon" to make his Warriors debut.

And getting the call in the Pro12 took him by surprise, even though it came after a successful run-out for the Glasgow 'A' side versus Edinburgh 'A' in September.

"When I took that first step onto the pitch I thought 'please don't muck this up'," recalled Fagerson, who Townsend described as "outstanding" against Treviso.

"But when I made my first tackle and scrum all the nervous energy went away. I got my head down and tried to do my jobs well.

"Al Kellock was a massive influence on me. He just made sure that if I was nervous or a bit lost he would always help me out. He was absolutely fantastic.

"There were loads of other individuals - it's a great family atmosphere at Glasgow and everyone put an arm round me and said 'good luck'. After the game it was a great experience with them all saying 'well done'."

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