Zander Fagerson still determined to improve ahead of 50th cap for Scotland

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Zander Fagerson displayed the same drive to improve “all over the park” as he reflected on the journey that has taken him to his 50th Scotland cap.

The 26-year-old front-row forward will achieve the feat in Saturday’s summer tour series decider against Argentina in Santiago del Estero.

The achievement comes eight years after being handed his Glasgow debut by Gregor Townsend, the same man who will facilitate the latest milestone.

Townsend praised Fagerson this week for showing a hunger to learn and improve, recalling the time he substituted the then teenager inside 25 minutes of one of his first starts for Warriors.

“Thanks Gregor, I have been trying to forget that Scarlets game,” Fagerson joked.

“I have been through a few lows in my career. That Scarlets game was definitely one of the lower points.

“But as I have always said, you learn from that. The tough games are where you learn the most.

“I would definitely say that put the bit between my teeth and drove me to keep pushing on and get better and make sure it never happens again.

“Touch wood, I have not been taken off before half-time since then, so it seems to be going all right, but never say never!”

Fagerson is still showing the same willingness to get better, stating there was room for improvement “all over”.

The British & Irish Lions international said: “Scrummaging is a thing that I never think you really master. It’s just that consistency and, going forward, making sure I add a few more tricks to my bag.

“All over there are bits to do. I still think I have got a lot of room to grow. I am nowhere near the finished article. I am looking forward to working for a few years and making sure I improve.”

Scotland Captain’s Run – Murrayfield – Friday February 4th
Zander Fagerson (left) was given his Glasgow debut by Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend (Jane Barlow/PA).

Fagerson was the youngest prop to represent Scotland for 68 years when he made his debut aged 20 as a replacement in the 2016 Six Nations against England.

“Playing for Scotland was a dream of mine as a young boy,” he said. “Playing once was a dream come true. It’s not really sunk in yet that I will be playing my 50th on Saturday.

“It will mean a lot to me and my family. All those late nights driving around the place, my mum and dad taking me all over Scotland and the UK, will all be worth it hopefully. It’s another huge milestone in my life and one I am hugely proud of.”

Another player making a landmark appearance in Argentina on Saturday is full-back Ollie Smith.

The 21-year-old is a Glasgow team-mate of Fagerson’s and a fellow former pupil at Strathallan School in Perthshire and the prop had some advice for his colleague.

“I’m really chuffed to be playing with a fellow Strath boy and for him to be getting his first cap,” Fagerson said.

“I have seen how hard he has worked at Glasgow and he definitely deserves his opportunity. I’m sure he will take it with both hands.

“I just told him to go and do his thing. He has done it for Glasgow every time he has come on this season, he has been class. That Connacht game, he was awesome, and then coming on against La Rochelle in Europe and scoring two tries.

“He knows what to do, it’s just another rugby game. I just said to him to enjoy it, express yourself, try and enjoy the moment because you never get your first cap again.”

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