Fagerson looks forward to teaming up with his brother in Scotland colours
SCOTLAND: Elder sibling Zander chuffed to bits as Matt joins him on international duty – but insists rookie brother ‘can look after himself’ against USA in Houston
Zander Fagerson insisted he won’t need be a minder to wee brother Matt when he makes his Scotland debut tomorrow.
The siblings will line up together against the tough guys of the USA in Houston – and power prop Zander has vowed to let the big-stage rookie fight his own battles.
He said: “Matt will be absolutely fine – he’s a big boy and he can look after himself.
“I have watched him growing up and developing as a player – and he has become pretty handy in the back row.
“He is a fantastic ball carrier who has really good footwork. His defence is superb.
“In fact, he is an all-round package who is an asset to any team he plays in. I have certainly loved playing with him for Glasgow and I can’t wait for this weekend when we chum up in Scotland colours.”
Zander reckons the ultra competitive childhood of the brothers in rural Perthshire has stood them in good stead for the physical demands of international rugby.
He explained: “All our friends used to come over to our place to play football.
“It would start out as normal football but soon it would become extreme football. There would be ridiculous slide tackles and full-on rugby tackles.
“Then when we began to also play with a different shaped ball in the garden it would begin as touch rugby and usually end up as the full contact version.”
Fagerson Jun said: “I am pretty excited. Being picked for the tour was amazing and to get my opportunity in a proper international is the icing on the cake. I was almost lost for words when Gregor Townsend told me I was in.”
On the influence of big brother Zander, Matt added: “I have always looked up to him.
“I was the wee brother of a bloke who made the Scotland under-20 squad when he was only 17 and making his Glasgow breakthrough less than a year later.
“He was also very young when he made his Scotland Test debut, especially for a prop.
“His achievements were massive for me as well as him. I was very proud.
“I have never tried to emulate him but I wanted to follow in the same footsteps. He has much more experience than I have and I know I still have a lot to learn.
“Zander has always treated me as an equal and I don’t think that will change.”
The Fagersons have family links with the USA and Matt added: “We have an uncle and cousins in Boston and they are coming to the match, which will be pretty cool.
“I hope we will get the chance to catch up with them after the game.
“And I will probably phone mum back in Scotland in the build-up. I expect the first thing she will tell me is to make sure I put sun cream on!
“She and dad made a lot of sacrifices for us and I hope they will think it has all been worth it when they see us running out together for Scotland.
“Zander and I are certainly massively grateful for what they have done.”
Tomorrow’s match will see the Fagersons and the Horne brothers, Peter and George, become the 48th and 49th brothers to play for Scotland, and the 22nd and 23rd pair of brothers to play together in the same Test match.
It will be only the eighth time in close to 700 Scotland Tests when two sets of brothers have been on the field at the same time, joining the Evans and Lamont brothers (2010), Bulloch and Leslie brothers (2001), Milne and Hastings brothers (1990), and the Neilson and Orr brothers, who did so four times (18911892).
Townsend has made other changes to the side that routed Canada with Glasgow Warriors forward Tim Swinson in the back-row while Warriors centre Nick Grigg is in midfield.
Scotland will complete the Summer Test campaign against Argentina in Resistencia on Saturday June 23 (kick-off 8.40pm UK time), which will be shown live on Channel 4.