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Fagerson: We’ve come a long way since the spring

Fagerson: We’ve come a long way since the spring

Fagerson: We’ve come a long way since the spring

Prop Zander Fagerson warned Ireland that Scotland will be a different animal compared to the team that suffered a deflating loss the last time the two sides met, ahead of Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup third-place play-off.

Gregor Townsend’s men have been defeated just twice since going down 19-12 at the Aviva Stadium in the opening round of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, most recently on their last outing at home to France in Autumn Nations Cup Group B.

That result – together with a Round 1 triumph over Italy and a walkover win against Fiji last week – yielded a second-place finish for Gregor Townsend’s men, earning them a shot at third in Dublin.

And while they haven’t won in the Irish capital for ten years, Fagerson believes victories throughout 2020 – including against Les Bleus and Wales in the Guinness Six Nations – demonstrate they have the potential to topple Andy Farrell’s charges.

“We were pretty gutted and kicking ourselves after that Ireland game in February, but that was 11 months ago and we’ve definitely grown as a team from then,” Fagerson, 24, said.

“We’ve got a few new threats and improved in certain areas, particularly the contact area, which wasn’t where it needed to be in February, when we let them off the hook a few times.

“It is a big opportunity against a top-class team, so we’re looking forward to going there and hopefully finishing third in this competition.

“We’ve not been looking at games gone by or the history of not winning in Ireland for however long, we just see it as a great opportunity to go over there and get a win, and it would be exactly the same if we were at home.”

Having seen their Guinness Six Nations title hopes dashed by France in the last match of the series in October, Ireland have endured a mixed Autumn Nations Cup campaign in which they have beaten Wales and Georgia either side of defeat to England.

The men in green showcased their strength up front against Los Lelos last time out, and having come up against many of the Ireland forward pack regularly in the Guinness PRO14, Glasgow Warriors star Fagerson is expecting a tough test.

He added: “I have played against [Ireland props] Cian Healy and Andrew Porter for many years, and they are always a very physical pack.

“They have got [lock)] James Ryan, CJ Stander in the back-row. It’s always a physical encounter, it doesn’t matter if it is domestically or internationally.

“I am looking forward to a physical confrontation, if selected. It’s going to be a tough 80-minute slog.”

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