Stuart Hogg: ‘I used to worry about playing England, but not now’ - Scotland captain confident ahead of Calcutta Cup

While reluctant to be drawn into a debate about who are favourites, Stuart Hogg believes Scotland no longer fear England and has backed his team to come out on top in Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield.

The home captain admits he used to approach the fixture with a degree of trepidation but Scotland’s recent record has imbued the squad with sufficient confidence to banish any fear factor.

Under Gregor Townsend, the Scots have lost just one of four Calcutta Cup games and Hogg rates the current group as the best he has worked. He believes the spirit within the camp allied to their abilities makes for a potent mix.

“It’s definitely the best squad I’ve ever been involved in,” said Hogg. “For me, the excitement, the buzz, the cohesion that this group has got is the best it’s ever been, and that’s down to everything we do as a squad.

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“It’s definitely an environment and a squad that has been the best it’s ever been in the ten years that I’ve been involved.”

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It’s a measure of how far the side has come under Townsend that Hogg is able to talk in such positive terms on the eve of the Six Nations but it wasn’t always this way. The Scotland full-back suffered five defeats in a row against England before savouring victory for the first time in 2018.

“I'd be lying if I said I didn't used to worry about playing England, especially in the early years,” said Hogg. “Some of the names that used to play against us for England made playing them quite a scary task. But not now, not now.

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Stuart Hogg celebrates with the Calcutta Cup after Scotland's 11-6 win over England at Twickenham last year. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

“I truly believe in the ability of myself and of the squad. I believe that we can go out there and win, and that's been shown to be right over the past four years or so.”

Eddie Jones has described Scotland as “red hot favourites” but Hogg refused to be drawn on the England coach’s Murrayfield mind games.

“We’ve got respect and admiration for everything that Eddie has done. As a coach he’s been absolutely tremendous and worked with some of the best sides in world rugby,” said Hogg. “And you know that he’s always going to chuck a comment out here and there, so I’m not getting involved in that.”

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Stuart Hogg limbers up on the eve of the Calcutta Cup clash at BT Murrayfield. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
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