Stuart Hogg makes rugby history as he breaks Scotland try-scoring record - but he had to be told to not celebrate too early
But Hogg revealed he had to be told by his team-mates to remember to ground the ball as he threatened to start his celebrations prematurely.
The full-back raised a clenched left fist as he crossed the line before he dotted down under the posts after being played in by Finn Russell.
“I loved it,” said a delighted Hogg after the game. “And I loved to then be told by Ali Price and Hamish Watson to put the ball down before I celebrated.
“But I absolutely loved it. I think you can see in my reaction how much it meant to me but the main thing is we got a good win and we’ll take it and move on.”
Hogg has now eclipsed the records of two men whose achievements are woven into the fabric of Scottish rugby.
Smith, known as The Flying Scotsman, played for Scotland between 1924 and 1933 and took a mere 32 Test matches to reach his haul of 24 tries. He was instrumental in Scotland’s Grand Slam in the Five Nations of 1925 and captained the national side to Triple Crown success in 1933.
His try total constituted a world record for international rugby until 1987 when the great Australian David Campese surpassed it.
Stanger matched Smith’s record in 1998, scoring his 24 tries in 52 Scotland internationals, with the high point coming in 1990 when his crucial score helped win the Grand Slam decider against England - two years before Hogg was born.
Stanger, like Hogg, comes from Hawick and was delighted the Scotland captain had further burnished the town’s reputation as one of Scotland’s great rugby hotspots. The Borders town supplies three current Scotland players, with Darcy Graham and Rory Sutherland joining Hogg.
“When I was a youngster, you’d walk into the Hawick changing room and it was filled with top players so to still be producing international players is quite something,” Stanger said in an interview in the match programme.
Hogg, 29, equalled the try record last weekend when he scored twice against South Africa before moving clear on his own against Japan.
Gregor Townsend, the Scotland coach, said: “What a brilliant moment for him. He didn’t have to wait long after equalling it last week. That record has lasted almost 100 years so it’s brilliant that our captain was able to break that today.”
Hogg reached another landmark in the win over Japan by becoming Scotland’s fourth most capped player of all time. It was his 88th appearance for the national team and only Ross Ford (110), Chris Paterson (109) and Sean Lamont (105) have won more Scotland caps than him.
“For me there is no better feeling than representing Scotland, it’s a huge honour,” added Hogg. “As a kid growing up it’s all I ever wanted to do so I am still living the dream.
“To be part of this group is very special and something I’ll never take for granted.”
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