Al Kellock: Fagerson will learn lesson after early Scarlets exit
Glasgow Warriors captain believes young tighthead prop will bounce back after a difficult first start in professional rugby
Al Kellock believes Glasgow Warriors tighthead prop Zander Fagerson will become a better player after being hauled off at the end of the opening quarter against the Scarlets.
The 18-year-old forward got on the wrong side of Irish referee David Wilkinson early in their 19-9 Guinness PRO12 defeat on Friday night, and was subsequently replaced with Rossouw de Klerk on 29 minutes, but club captain Kellock expects the youngster to bounce back.
Even if he thinks he’s right, there’s no point in carrying on if the ref thinks it’s wrong, but I know how good he is. He’s an incredibly talented player
“For an 18-year-old to be on in the first place shows the calibre he has,” Kellock said. “He’ll be beating himself up.
“He’ll be hurting, because that’s tough for your first start, but he’ll learn a lesson and he’ll be better for it.”
Despite the captain’s best efforts as a mediator between the referee and prop, Fagerson continued to fall foul of the referee for his binding at the scrum, forcing the Warriors coaching staff to take preventative measures.
“He has to learn a lesson,” Kellock added. “The referee’s opinion — and I’m not saying the referee was wrong — he’ll see something, and he saw the same thing continuously.
“I was getting as much information as I could for Zander and feeding it back to him, so he needs to be able to change something, show something different.
“We’ve just got to learn and move on from it. Zander felt the loosehead was hinging, but the ref didn’t.
“If the ref didn’t think it, or didn’t see it, then it’s entirely the ref’s call and we’ve got to make sure we’re smart enough to deal with it, but I believe he’ll be a better player for that.
“Even if he thinks he’s right, there’s no point in carrying on if the ref thinks it’s wrong, but I know how good he is. He’s an incredibly talented player.”
Kellock also insists that last year’s PRO12 finalist believed they could have won that match played out in very wet conditions in Llanelli, despite having 11 players in the Scotland squad to face Tonga.
“It’s been a major factor the depth we’ve got in the squad,” he said. “We’re disappointed we lost that game.
“I believe, and everyone in the squad believes, that we had a team and squad that could have gone out and won that game.
“In saying that, Scarlets are a very good team. I thought Rhys [Priestland] came back and played a very well. Orchestrated it well, put pressure on us and put us in the back field.
“It says something about the character over the disappointment he’s had in the last week, so credit to him.
“That’s a good team. It’s a shame to see John Barclay go off so early, and Rory Pitman, who we know so well, came on and scored that try that put us out of bonus point.
“We knew they were going to be competitive. We wanted to come down and get a result, and on the day we weren’t good enough — they were better than us.”