Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg hopes to be back on the pitch “in the next couple of weeks, ready to rock and roll” after his latest injury problem.
With Scotland’s Six Nations opener against Wales fast approaching on 3 February at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff the news is a big boost for head coach Gregor Townsend.
Hogg, 25, has been on the sidelines since a hip injury forced him out of Scotland’s match with Australia in late November. It was the latest setback for the full-back after a tough 2017.
The Glasgow Warriors man was forced home early from the British and Irish Lions’ summer tour to New Zealand after suffering a facial injury and then had surgery on a shoulder complaint.
He returned to action for his club against Leinster in October and was on top form as Scotland ran New Zealand close before the hip issue.
“Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll be back on the pitch and I’ll be ready to rock and roll again, we are getting there,” said Hogg, speaking on the Rugby Union Weekly podcast on the BBC.
“It has been a challenging year for me if I am honest.
“It was great to be on my second Lions tour, but injury put a stop to that and so far I have only actually played four games of rugby in 2017/18.
“I managed to get a seven centimetre tear [around the hip area]. I think I did it in the midweek leading up to the Australia game if I am honest.
“I was running full pelt [indoors at Oriam] to score a try and I had to stop quickly and I think I pulled it then.
“Then in the warm-up for the [Australia] game I kicked the ball and it felt like somebody had stabbed me in the hip so it was a bit frustrating because I had just come back from a long-term shoulder injury and was starting to get a bit of form back.
“You have to go back to square one and for me it has been a very frustrating period because I have never really had injuries before.
“The last time I touched the ball I was nearly scoring a try to beat the All Blacks so I am itching to get going.”
The moment he talks about at the end of the 22-17 New Zealand loss was when he looked to be through for a late score until opposing stand-off Beauden Barrett came across and put in a try-saving tackle.
“I think about that moment all of the time and it kills me,” Hogg said. “I have watched it numerous times and tried to see what I could have done differently. It has frustrated me big time, especially when you then pick up an injury a few days later and cannot make up for it. The main thing is that I learn from that and if I am in the same situation going forward then we can have a better outcome next time.”
Hogg, meanwhile, has been voted the game’s fifth best player by Rugby World magazine, with Barret second. England playmaker Owen Farrell came out on top, with former Glasgow Warriors lock Leone Nakarawa in third place.