Zander preparing for a busy summer of rugby
You don’t have to go too far back to revisit the first Rugby World Cup that Zander Fagerson has real memories of, yet the tighthead prop may well be featuring in his second one as a player in just two months.
And it is a fellow former pupil of High School of Dundee that provided him with those memories: “Being a Dundee boy, I remember seeing Richie Vernon make that break up the try line against Romania in 2011 and scoring last minute. That was a close game.
“I remember they played England in the 2011 World Cup as well and lost sadly, but another close game and I remember watching it as a family. We were watching the TV the whole time.”
Zander has played his part in Glasgow’s quick turn in form this season. After a disappointing end to the 2021/22 campaign, the Warriors reached the final of the EPCR Challenge Cup as well as making the quarter-finals of the United Rugby Championship.
“It’s been great. We’ve gone back to what we’re all about and what Glasgow is about and that’s hard work, and then working for your mates. Franco is pretty keen on that and making sure we make that one of the key fundamentals for us going forward.
“And yes, it’s paid off, some of the results didn’t go our way, but we back the process and trust the system that Franco’s got in place, and the results are coming.
“We came up a little bit short this year, but I’m excited to get back there next season and I’m sure we can go one step further.”
The beginning of this year’s build towards the World Cup came in the form of the Six Nations, where Scotland won three of their five games and finished in third place. Whilst Zander was happy with some of the performances, he sees room for Scotland to go a step further.
“It was absolutely awesome to be back in a Scotland shirt, I never take that for granted.
“I think we left some points out there and there were a few games that were so close that we could have turned it around, and we could have even come out of it with four wins out of five so plenty to work on.
“Plenty of positives, which bodes us well and makes me excited for what this group can achieve going forward to the World Cup.”
Three home matches in The Famous Grouse Nations Series along with a warm-up match away to France await, before the trip back to France for the Rugby World Cup at the start of September.
“This time together is absolutely awesome. It’s massive, connection for us is huge, and that’s not just the playing squad but the coaching staff as well.
“We’ve got a big squad this time and we’re all good mates, and we just like hanging out with each other. So it’s pretty much training really hard with your mates and having a laugh, so there’s nothing wrong with that.
“With the warm-up games, what’s good for me is it’s another opportunity for me to play for Scotland. So it’s an opportunity I want to play.
“Some of the best days of my career have been at Murrayfield, so every time you get a chance you just want to give your all.
“Playing in front of our fans, playing for a place in the World Cup squad, it means everything. We’re going to have to make sure we do our work on some tough opponents.
“I think it’s a key preparation for us going forward and we can’t take these teams lightly because you know, all three teams we’re playing are very dangerous on their day so we need to make sure we prepare well and that’s why we’re doing this hard work now.
Should World Cup selection come, the 27-year-old hopes to build on the lifelong memories made in Japan four years ago with his loved ones by his side.
“To play in 2019 was really special and to have my daughter and my family there in Japan meant everything and I’m hoping to make some more memories hopefully this year.
“I need to make sure I work hard and do everything I can to get in the squad.”