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

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - SPORT - DAVID KELSO

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.

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