Zander Fagerson says the British & Irish Lions must win the physical battle if they are to emerge victorious in the three-Test series against South Africa.
The Lions are set to play a warm-up Test against Japan in Edinburgh on Saturday before flying out to South Africa for their highly anticipated eight-match tour.
Fagerson, who was in the Scotland match-day squad that lost 28-21 to the Brave Blossoms in their Pool A encounter for a place in the playoffs, has warned his Lions teammates against underestimating Japan.
“They are going to be fast, physical and they are a good scrummage unit,” he said. “We know what they are going to bring.”
Every player available is desperate for a chance to lay down an early marker ahead of flying out to South Africa the following day, and for the seven Scots in contention for this weekend’s match there is the added incentive of being involved in the first-ever Lions match to be played in Scotland.
“If selected, it will be a dream come true. For me growing up and playing for Scotland was the biggest dream of all and I never thought about the Lions. To possibly play at Murrayfield in a Lions jersey would be absolutely incredible.”
Despite the threat Japan will pose to the Lions this weekend, Fagerson believes it will be an entirely different prospect compared to what lies in wait for the Lions in South Africa. The 25-year-old prop says the scrum battle will be crucial when it comes to the three contests against the Springboks.
“The South Africans are a physical team and the physical battle will be crucial,” he said.
“It is one I am looking forward to if selected. It will be a tough competition and tough throughout the whole tour because, as I said, South African teams, that is what they pride themselves on.”