Guinness PRO12: Chris Fusaro focused on Warriors run-in

Scotland flanker has Leinster in his sights after admitting his return from injury is probably too late to win Six Nations call

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Fusaro focused on Leinster after try-scoring Warriors return Photo by SNS/SRU

Chris Fusaro insists his focus is on Glasgow Warriors’ next Guinness PRO12 match against Leinster rather than his international future.

The 25-year-old made a try-scoring return after three months out following ankle surgery as the Warriors ran in four first-half tries in a 26-5 win over Zebre Rugby at Scotstoun Stadium.

We’ve got Leinster next and that’s what we’re focusing on. We’ve got two weekends off then that’s probably going to be the defining game of the season.

Warriors flanker Chris Fusaro

Fusaro made his Scotland debut at openside in a 20-0 defeat to England at BT Murrayfield during last year’s RBS 6 Nations, before signing a new two-year deal with the Warriors, and went on to play in the dramatic last-gasp win over Italy.

He kept his place in one of two Scotland squads for the country-hopping summer tour, featuring against Argentina and South Africa, before missing out on the November internationals with London Irish’s Blair Cowan establishing himself as Scotland’s first-choice openside flanker.

His injury in the first half of the Warriors’ European Champions Cup 19-11 defeat to Toulouse at Scotstoun in December ruled him out of an international recall last month, but he made a solid return to action despite 12 weeks on the sidelines.

And the suggestion that he could force his way into Vern Cotter’s Scotland squad for the Dark Blues’ final two two RBS 6 Nations matches against England and Ireland later this month was quickly rebuffed after the Zebre win.

“When I got the injury, I thought the Six Nations would be touch and go,” Fusaro said.

“I ruptured a ligament in my ankle, so I had an operation on that back in December. Eight to 12 weeks was the recovery and it took 12 weeks – all sorted.

“Unfortunately, it’s probably too little too late [for Scotland]. It’s a shame as I would have loved to have been involved.”

The Warriors defeated Leinster 22-20 in round one at Scotstoun Stadium this season, seen by some as a bit of revenge for their PRO12 final defeat to the Dubliners last May, but they have won just once in their last 20 visits to Dublin, despite several close games.

And Fusaro believes their trip to the RDS on Friday 27 March for the round 18 contest could define their season.

“I’ve been desperate to get back,” Fusaro added.

“It’s been a tough three months, but I’m feeling fresh for the tail end of the season.

“We’ve got Leinster next and that’s what we’re focusing on.

“We’ve got two weekends off then that’s probably going to be the defining game of the season.”

The Warriors had slipped to second after their bonus-point 22-10 defeat to Munster in Cork last weekend, but the Zebre win sees them return to the summit ahead of the Irish province’s difficult trip to Swansea to take on the Ospreys.

With Ospreys away and Ulster at home, it’s going to be a massive run-in.

Warriors flanker Chris Fusaro

With five clubs in contention for the play-offs approaching the business end of the season, Gregor Townsend’s men are desperate to hang on to a coveted top-two position that would guarantee them a home semi-final for a second successive year.

After losing last year’s final to Leinster at the RDS, the Warriors have ambitions to go one better in this year’s final at the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday 30 May.

But they face a tricky end to the season with away trips to Leinster, Connacht and the Ospreys with Cardiff Blues and Ulster set to visit Scotstoun, where the Warriors have not lost in the PRO12 since November 2013.

“With Ospreys away and Ulster at home, it’s going to be a massive run-in,” Fusaro added.

“Hopefully, we’ll have all the Scotland boys back in and fit, so we’re going to have a strong squad.”

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