Matt Fagerson says being at World Cup with brother Zander ‘pretty special’

Scotland back-rower Matt Fagerson is savouring the “special” experience of finally being at a World Cup alongside his big brother Zander after the agony of being left at home in 2019.

The 25-year-old Glasgow forward was a notable omission from Gregor Townsend’s squad for the global showpiece four years ago but quickly cast aside his own disappointment to support his sibling – two years his senior – who got the nod to go to Japan.


This time the pair are in France together, representing their family on the sport’s biggest stage of all. Their loved ones are due to arrive in the host nation later this week ahead of Sunday’s first pool match against South Africa in Marseille.

“It’s pretty special,” said the younger Fagerson. “I was gutted in 2019 but obviously I had to change that when Zander was there. I was cheering on the squad from home.


“To finally get the call from Gregor this time was pretty special and it was an emotional time with what happened four years ago so I’m hugely excited to be here, especially with Zander being here as well.


“He has his kids coming out, and my fiancee is coming out so to be able to share this experience with the family will be huge.

“There are not many times you’ll get to play with your brother at a World Cup so any time we get the opportunity it will be a very special occasion.”

Fagerson is almost certain to be in the 23-man squad for the showdown with South Africa and appears to be vying with his in-form Glasgow colleague Jack Dempsey for the number eight jersey.

The Sprinboks go into the tournament in scintillating form and having climbed to second in the world rankings following recent thumping wins over Wales and New Zealand.


“Everyone is super-excited as we have all been gearing up for this game through the whole of pre-season and now we are a couple of days away,” said Fagerson.

“They are obviously a great team and are second in the world at the minute and reigning world champions so it will be a huge task for us but one we are very much looking forward to.




“We will need to be on it from minute one as we know what they can bring. They are a very physical side and they showed that against the All Blacks but the way this group has grown over the last two to three years and particularly over this last pre-season, it’s a challenge we are ready for.”

After finishing third in an encouraging Six Nations campaign, Scotland won three of their four summer Tests, with their only defeat a narrow one away to France last month in which they came agonisingly close to winning after being 27-10 down.

Fagerson feels the Scots – ranked fifth in the world – have arrived at the tournament with momentum and resilience. 

“We had a really good Six Nations this year which led into the Tests in the summer,” he said. 

“We’ve shown that even when we do go down on the scoreboard we can claw it back. We obviously don’t want to be going behind in the first 20 minutes on Sunday but we are a team with a lot of fight.

Scotland have been training in sweltering heat this week but Fagerson feels his team – who visited their World Cup base on the Cote d’Azur twice previously over the summer – are prepared for what promises to be an intoxicating occasion inside Stade Velodrome.   

“The heat will make the ball a bit more greasy, playing in the UK it’s colder, but the hot conditions make it more greasy,” he said.

“The crowds will play a huge part as well, we know the French are pretty loud, especially when we go out to play in Marseille.”


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