Zander Fagerson sheds kilos and admits Glasgow Warriors weren't fit enough last season

Zander Fagerson is fitter and leaner and hoping to reap the benefits, starting on Friday night when Glasgow Warriors make their long awaited return to Scotstoun.

The prop is set for his first start of the season when Cardiff come calling and is eager to kick-start the Warriors into life after the defeat by Benetton in Italy in the season opener.

Fagerson, 26, has worked hard in pre-season after feeling sluggish at times last year and has also lost weight in a bid to put a spring back in his step for what is going to be a big campaign, with the Rugby World Cup coming straight after.

“I think I had a bit of a hangover from the [Lions] tour last year and didn’t really get much of a pre-season at the start of last season,” he explained. “As the season went on I was picking up little niggles here and there and didn’t really feel like bouncing around as I used to.

“It could be age, it could be weight so I fixed the one I could fix and I feel much better for it. I’ve dropped a few kegs. I’m hoping it’s going to be a big year so I’m doing all I can to be in the best shape possible.

“I just feel the way the game is going, with more collision, more rucks and more carries – I like to get my hands on ball, that it is something I pride myself on – so if I can shift a few kilos it means I can get more carries, more tackles and just bounce around the park a bit more to make my life a lot easier.”

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Glasgow’s grim end to last season prompted a change of coach, with Franco Smith replacing Danny Wilson, and the South African has instigated a tough regime, with early starts and gruelling pre-season sessions. Fagerson is hoping it can help the Warriors rediscover some of their pizazz.

INVERNESS, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 24: Warriors Zander Fagerson and Inverness' George Oakley preview the match between Glasgow Warriors and Worcester Warriors at the Caledonian Stadium, on August 24, 2022, in Inverness, Scotland. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“My first impression of Franco is that he’s an honest man and he wants boys to work hard,” said the player. “He knows exactly what he wants and he makes sure he lets you know about it so if it’s not 100 per cent what he likes he’ll give you both barrels. I enjoy that attention to detail.”

Fagerson came off the bench against Benetton and scored a good try but it wasn’t enough and the visitors went down 33-11. The result means Glasgow have now lost six in a row stretching back to last season but Fagerson is keen to state that they have turned over a new leaf.

“We had a few tough conversations at the end of last season. We weren’t fit enough, which we’ve addressed. We’ve got that sorted and are a completely different team in that regard. It was the first game and we were a bit rusty, I’ll be honest, but it’s nothing we can’t fix.

“As I said, pre-season was really tough. The boys came back in good nick and built on those solid foundations they put in place in the off-season and we’re in a lot better place this season compared to last.

“We’re a team that wants to throw the ball around, that’s in Glasgow’s DNA. If we’re fitter we can do that.”


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