Tight head is maybe the most confrontational position on a rugby field and while Zander Fagerson is still pretty new on the block, he’s not standing for any nonsense.
The 21-year-old was up in the face of the opposition again on Saturday against Samoa and will be no respecter of reputations with world champions New Zealand next up at Murrayfield.
The former Strathallan School pupil has been exchanging pleasantries in the last few games for both Glasgow and Scotland, but he’s all under control and is mostly seeking fair play.
“I hate cheap shots,” he said. “I view playing for Glasgow and for Scotland as a massive privilege, and I think you build a brotherhood with the guys you play with.
“I take exception to someone cheap-shotting or hurting my team-mates for no reason. If the ref’s not going to take it into his hands, have a word with him.
“In the sport we play you can’t throw any punches. Not that it goes on too much, but you’ve got to let them know that it’s not acceptable.”
There’s been one or two little niggles of this sort in every game he’s played this season, he added.
“It’s just little things like clearing out after the ball, leaving knees and stuff like that. Referees and the touchies aren’t picking up on it, but it’s pretty rife. I’ve not played a team this year where there haven’t been one or two.”
Xander played the best part of an hour on Saturday off the bench and is certain to be WP Nel’s replacement again against New Zealand now that the Edinburgh prop is out with a fractured arm.
“It’s just professional sport, that’s how it goes,” he said. “WP has been fantastic for me, just picking his brains about stuff. We’ve got quite an open dialogue, that if I do something well he’ll say.
“We try and raise each other’s game. That’s really good: I really enjoy working with him. And it was gutting for me when he went down on Saturday.
“And Simon (Berghan) is a great player as well. There’s no egos in the front-row club especially – leave that at the door. We try to get better together.”
Playing New Zealand is a dream, and he’s only done it on video games before.
“You grow up watching the All Blacks,” he said. “I remember playing as them on Jonah Lomu 2011 on the PlayStation when I was a kid. I’ve played against the All Blacks Under 20s a few times, but this would be a privilege, and I’m looking forward to it if selected.”
And Dave Rennie’s influence at Glasgow has Zander aiming to play the New Zealand way.
“Dave’s got the standard of all front five plauyers being able to catch and pass with both hands. If they (the All Blacks) can do it we can do it. It’s been a breath of fresh air having him at Glasgow, making sure we’re working on our skills and stuff.
“Gregor’s style as well is quite like that, he likes an expansive, fast-tempo game.
For my position it’s not acceptable anymore just to scrum and maul. You’ve got to get your hands on ball.
“I think that’s good for the club and good for the country as well. In this day and age if you can be a ball-player as well as doing the hard yards, it’s only going to be an advantage for you and for the team.”