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Rugby: Hogg full of admiration for quality of All Blacks but insists he’s out to make his own mark

Stuart Hogg

Stuart Hogg

  • by BILL LOTHIAN
 

As one of 10 players in the home matchday squad who have never previously faced New Zealand, full back Stuart Hogg might be regarded as having no baggage to carry into a fixture which has yet to see a Scotland win in 28 meetings.

And how important might this prove to be in terms of freeing the Scots from any hang-ups and encouraging them to have a go?

Certainly the 20 year-old Hogg, who will be earning his eighth cap, is determined that nothing is to be gained by seeking to copy others and how refreshing in a country where perhaps too much store has been set in previous years by what the Kiwis do, rugby-wise, that he seeks nothing more than to be his own man.

In backing himself to succeed, Hogg said:“Of course I have looked at players like Ma’a Nonu and Carlos Spencer as I was growing up and there just seems to be so many good ones moving in and out of the New Zealand squad.

“There are few better role models in my position than Israel Dagg, unless it is Rob Kearney (Ireland). I look to see what incredibly gifted players they are up to but I also want to add my own touches. I want to be my own player.

“From 1-15 New Zealand will be tough and nowhere more than their back row, which is liable to contain Richie McCaw.

“But we are confident when placing our players one on one against them we can beat them.

“They are World Cup winners and the highest you can be is world champions.

“So, it is going to be tough but we just need things to go our way on the day and hopefully it will be good for us.”

Hogg has never been short of plaudits for his attacking skills, whether at his native Hawick or Heriot’s, where he had a few games in his club career, right up to the Glasgow pro side.

From the moment he pulled on a Scotland jersey at the beginning of this year, too, he has been seizing any forward opportunity.

Sunday’s clash will not be any different, although he is realistic to know much depends on the forwards providing attack ball.

“ Tim (Visser) has said we need space and I hope there will be space for myself to work in,” Hogg continued.

“First of all we need a solid platform up front and that could be what gives us the chance to make history by ending New Zealand’s unbeaten run. For the last couple of weeks we have been planning this and we have to be confident in ourselves.”

 

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