Chris Fusaro has come a long way since he was on the receiving end of a tongue-lashing from his Mum 18 months ago – so much so that it appears a matter of time before international honours are bestowed upon him.
He has been denied a first Scotland cap hitherto purely because of the depth of the back-row pool Andy Robinson has to choose from – but an impressive start to the RaboDirect PRO12 season could see the 23-year-old handed a chance in the Autumn Internationals.
Narrow defeats to Ulster and the Scarlets preceded a first win of the season against defending champions the Ospreys last time out which brought with it relief and satisfaction in equal measure, and just as he was last term, Fusaro was at the fore of most things positive done by the Warriors.
For after the indiscipline that saw he and Scott MacLeod receive their marching orders in a heated Edinburgh v Glasgow clash at the end of 2010, Fusaro has knuckled down and became the mainstay of his side’s back row last season, ousting John Barclay at open side, after a telling off from his mother.
Fusaro was on the scoresheet against the Ospreys as his try and a DTH van der Merwe double secured a victory, a first for new head coach Gregor Townsend, in Swansea – and now the Warriors have two matches at their new home, Scotstoun.
“It was great to get the first win under the belt, we hadn’t quite got it right in the first two but to get that win and beat the champions was very pleasing,” said Fusaro.
“Now we want to turn Scotstoun into a fortress. There are exciting times ahead for the Warriors, Gregor has come in with some new ideas, we’ve got a new home and there are some new players here as well.”
The future certainly does look bright for both Glasgow and Edinburgh, helped in part from a financial boost from the Scottish RFU over the summer.
Edinburgh flew the Saltire in Europe last season, reaching the Heineken Cup semi-finals, while it was the Warriors who excelled in the RaboDirect PRO12, finishing fourth before losing out to European champions Leinster in a narrow 19-15 defeat at the RDS.
But Fusaro believes the Warriors can now compete on both fronts, suggesting that with the addition of Sean Lamont and exciting Canadian flyer Taylor Paris to the back line, Glasgow now have a backline to boast, as well as the brawn that he provides.
“The new players coming in have made this a stronger squad than last year. We have some exciting backs and some competition for places in the forwards which bodes well.
“That’s what you want, competition all over the field and I believe that we have to target getting to the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup, that’s the big goal for us this year.”
On a personal level there’s little doubting that the big goal for Fusaro is international recognition and while he has to compete with the likes of Stuart McInally, Ross Rennie, Alasdair Strokosch, Dave Denton and Jon Barclay, he can take heart in the fact that Robinson has demonstrated a willingness to put his faith in young Warriors.
Fly-half Duncan Weir and full-back Stuart Hogg have both been blooded recently, and Fusaro is keeping his fingers crossed he can follow suit.
“Of course I would love to win international honours but there is a great deal of competition in my position at the moment.
“But you have to take heart from seeing teammates getting the call-up and if you’re mixing with internationals week in week out it can only bode well.”