CHRIS PATERSON has backed Stuart Hogg to be a potential matchwinner for Scotland when Wales visit BT Murrayfield for Sunday’s RBS Six Nations clash.
The full-back was dismissed after he administered an illegal shoulder charge on Wales stand-off Dan Biggar after 23 minutes of the corresponding fixture at the Millennium Stadium last season.
But the 22 year-old was in sparkling form during Scotland’s defeat by France in Paris at the weekend and Paterson believe’s the way Hogg is playing could have a big say on Scotland’s chances.
He said: “We all know Hoggy’s talent and it was great to see how often he got his hands on the ball on Saturday night and in that kind of form Hoggy could make the difference for us. And, after the Wales game last season, he will have a point to prove.”
Speaking at the SRU City Centre skill zone in the St Enoch Centre, Glasgow, Paterson added: “He was coming in at first receiver against the French and he just gives Scotland something extra and adds real threat to our backline. His high ball catching was excellent and so was his decision making – he just looked so sharp.
“It will be a hugely physical battle [against Wales] and for me Scotland will need to make good decisions under pressure and that is what will dictate whether the game is won or lost. This Scotland side have a lot of good decision makers and Hoggy definitely falls into that category.”
Having lost seven times as a player in Paris, Paterson believes Saturday’s 15-8 loss was both the closest the Scots have come to success in France since they last won in 1999 but also provided a solid platform for the keenly-awaited meeting with Warren Gatland’s men.
Paterson said: “There were a lot of positives, although obviously the most disappointing aspect was the result. But Scotland looked dangerous and had a decent amount of possession and although France maybe had the best of the territory and the ball in the second-half, Scotland definitely had the best chances.
“You can’t underestimate how hard it is to play in Paris and try and get a result there. If you look at that French side and the players in it then it was very strong.”
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