Ally Hogg ruled out for season, dealing a blow to Test career

ALLY Hogg's hopes of kick-starting his Test career have been dealt a crushing blow.

• Ally Hogg has been a constant presence for Edinburgh this season but not for Scotland. Picture: Neil Hanna

The breakaway forward will be sidelined for the rest of the season after medics told him he needs surgery on his hip.

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Hogg had been determined to battle his way back into the Scotland set-up after being left out of the squad for last month's autumn series against Australia, Fiji and Argentina.

Hogg's plight was revealed by Edinburgh coach Rob Moffat ahead of the return leg of their Heineken Cup match with Bath at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Moffat said: "Ally has suffered a tear in a muscle in his hip and will have an operation this week. It means he will be out of action for six months and so will not be available for selection for the Six Nations campaign.

"Ally was involved down in Bath last weekend and could have played again this week – in fact, he really wanted to play. But the club decided he should undergo surgery as soon as possible."

Moffat was non-committal on suggestions that Hogg had been a victim of playing too much top flight rugby, having featured in every one of Edinburgh's competitive matches last season.

The coach said: "It shows you have to manage players. Last season Ally played really well and there was no sign of him being worn out. He then played for the Scotland sevens squad after the main season."

Edinburgh captain Mike Blair will also be absent for Bath's visit to the capital, however Moffat insisted his ankle problem is not a long-term issue.

He added: "He is still on course to be involved in the festive games against Glasgow at Firhill and Murrayfield."

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The decision to push ahead with Hogg's treatment is no doubt connected to the fact Ross Rennie has recovered from his lengthy spell on the casualty list. Rennie makes his full European stage return in place of Roddy Grant, who is rested.

The 23-year-old Rennie last played for the club against Glasgow on Boxing Day 2008 and has been sidelined with a knee injury which required surgery.

Moffat welcomed his return, but stressed Grant had not paid the price for Sunday's defeat in the first of Edinburgh's double header with Bath.

Moffat said: "It is great to be able to welcome Ross back into the team – he is a quality player.

"But we are fortunate because we have three quality sevens in our squad; Ross, Roddy and Alan MacDonald.

"So we felt it was the right time to bring Ross back into the starting line-up and it will be great to see him back."

Rennie's inclusion is one of three changes to the pack that featured at The Recreation Ground, with Kyle Traynor replacing Allan Jacobsen in the front row and lock Craig Hamilton coming in for Scott MacLeod.

The back line is unchanged, meaning Chris Paterson will make his 50th Heineken Cup appearance for Edinburgh .

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The 31-year-old said: "Over the past 10 years, we have managed to beat the likes of Wasps and Toulouse at home in the Heineken Cup and it would be great to be able to add Bath to that list."

After losing at The Rec, Edinburgh must win all of their three remaining Pool Four games to stand any chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

Back row forward David Callam is in line to record his second appearance of the season after being named amongst the replacements but fly-half David Blair is ruled out after injuring his ankle during the weekend defeat at The Rec.

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