Zander Fagerson says future bright for Scotland

Rookie prop Zander Fagerson believes the future is bright for Scotland after their fresh-faced props stood up to the test against Australia.
Zander Fagerson says future bright for Scotland

Loosehead Allan Dell made his Dark Blues debut during Saturday’s narrow 23-22 defeat to the Wallabies, while tighthead Fagerson was making his first international start.

They came up against an Australia front-row containing more than 200 caps but with the guidance of hooker Ross Ford — himself making his 100th Scotland appearance — did not disappoint head coach Vern Cotter as they put in a solid display against a team ranked third in the world.

Scotland have largely relied on Alastair Dickinson and WP Nel over the past 12 months but Glasgow forward Fagerson, 20, believes he and Dell have proved they are up to the job of taking on the best nations the game has to offer.

He said: “I’m really chuffed with Allan Dell. He has been absolutely awesome all week, he’s a really good bloke. A lot of people have been playing us down for being so young but we definitely stepped up.

"We did some good things, we did some bad things but it was definitely a great day in the office for learning. We can’t get ahead of ourselves as it’s only one game but Delly put in a massive shift. I’m really proud of him.

“We’ve got guys like Rory Sutherland and Alastair Dickinson there still to come into things so our strength in depth is massively improved on.

“There are lots of young boys getting the chance to get involved now in every position. Guys like Magnus Bradbury and Ali Price have shown that so Vern does reward you if you’re playing well for your club, so that can only be good for Scotland.”

The Scots were left suffering a painful sense of deja vu after Bernard Foley - the man whose controversial late penalty knocked them out of last year’s World Cup - struck again with a late conversion to squeeze Australia to another victory.

The result was not the one Cotter was looking for as he began his farewell tour. The departing Kiwi will leave when his contract expires next summer, with Gregor Townsend taking over. But he thinks Cotter’s message is beginning to take hold in the mind of his players.

“I think Scottish rugby is in a great place,” said the Warriors front-rower. “Vern has done a great job since he came in. To put in a great performance like we did on Saturday is definitely something we can build on. That should be the benchmark for Vern’s last seven games.

SCOTLAND:

Hogg, Maitland, Jones, Dunbar, Visser, Russell, Laidlaw, Dell, Ford, Fagerson, R. Gray, J. Gray, Barclay, Watson, Wilson.

Replacements:

Reid for Dell (52), Brown for Ford (56), Low for Fagerson (68).

AUSTRALIA:

Folau, Haylett-Petty, Kuridrani, Hodge, Speight, Foley, Genia, Sio, Moore, Kepu, Arnold, Coleman, Pocock, Hooper, Timani.

Replacements:

Phipps for Genia (68), Alaalatoa for Kepu (62), Mumm for Arnold (48), Skelton for Timani (62).

Referee:

John Lacey (Ireland).

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