Fagerson unfazed by “strange pre-season”
“It’s been a strange pre-season, for sure!”
Matt Fagerson laughs when he’s asked how his pre-season break has been, a reflection of the unique nature of 2020 so far. Having just completed his fourth campaign with the club, what would normally be a three-month off-season has been condensed into a five-week window as preparations gather pace ahead of the scheduled start of 2020/21.
A week off for the 22-year-old and his squad mates preceded a return to training this week, with the back-rower able to reflect and recharge after last month’s double-header.
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“I managed to see the family – my little sister is still off school, and my little brother is just about to start university,” said Fagerson.
“It was nice to be able to meet up with them outdoors, and have a bit of time to switch off and recharge.”
“It’s been good to have that break, too. We obviously didn’t get the win in the first game against Edinburgh, but the performance and the result in the second game was much better. The boys are excited to be coming back in now, developing our structure and getting to grips with the wee tweaks we’re making before the new season starts.”
Whilst defeat in the opening match of rugby’s return to Scotland ultimately saw the 1872 Cup evade Glasgow’s grasp, a 15-3 victory over Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield just six days later gave the Warrior Nation a reason to be smiling come the end of the 2019/20 season.
For Fagerson, the win not only ended the previous campaign on a positive note, but also provides the squad with a platform from which to kick on into pre-season.
“The cohesion we showed in the second game was really pleasing for us,” said the back-rower.
“Players on both sides were going to be a bit rusty in the first game, but what let us down was we just got out-worked in various areas of the game.
“The second game saw us really come together – the boys worked hard, and you saw that in the lineout, the scrum, across the field really. That was the most satisfying thing to see, and to keep Edinburgh from crossing the try-line and break their streak was quite nice too.
“For us now, it’s about building and making sure we’re ready to hit the ground running at the start of the new season.”
The condensed pre-season will see new Head Coach Danny Wilson continue to work with his squad ahead of his first full season in charge with the club, alongside fellow summer arrivals Jonny Bell and Kelly Brown. It’s a group that Fagerson feels will have the Warriors firing on all cylinders for the new campaign.
“I’ve worked with Danny a little bit with the Scotland setup, and he’s very good to work with,” he said.
“He’s very detailed, especially around the lineout – you could see the work that he’s done, along with guys like Richie [Gray], Scott [Cummings] and Rob [Harley], paying dividends in that second game in particular.
“Tommy [Seymour]’s spoken a lot about Jonny [Bell] and how much he rates him too, and the knowledge Jonny brings is clear to see. All of the new guys have slotted in really well, and it’s a very exciting coaching group to work with.”
There’s a further factor that Fagerson believes could stand the club in good stead ahead of the new campaign; whilst the COVID-19-enforced suspension of rugby worldwide put paid to any summer tours that had been planned, having a full squad training as one at Scotstoun is an unexpected upside.
“Throughout the season you’ll have a lot of boys going away, whether that’s for summer tours, Six Nations camps or so on, so it’s actually been a long time since we’ve had the full squad together for a pre-season,” explained Fagerson.
“Everyone’s together and learning the plays, and we can feed off each other. When you come to the big games, you sometimes don’t get that many chances to train all together to be honest.
“It’s been really good to have everyone in at Scotstoun and working towards the start of the new season – we’re all excited to get back out there again.”
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— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) September 4, 2020