Scotland talisman Stuart Hogg has 'challenges' but coaching staff have trust he will prove fitness for England clash

Gregor Townsend is hopeful Stuart Hogg can prove his fitness in time for Scotland’s Six Nations opener against England on February 4.

Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg has not featured for Exeter Chiefs recently.
Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg has not featured for Exeter Chiefs recently.

The full-back has missed Exeter Chiefs’ last four games, including the Heineken Champions Cup against Castres on Saturday, due to a heel injury. Exeter are due to play Gloucester in the Premiership next weekend but even if Hogg is unable to play in that one, Townsend has backed him to step straight back in to the national team.

“He has challenges making sure he gets his body right. We are aware of that,” said the Scotland coach. “He had an operation last summer. He had a huge number of minutes following the Lions tour which has probably had a knock-on effect on him now. He is one player we have a lot of trust in that he is able to play after time out. He has shown that in the past. As long as he is fully fit he will be a strong option for us in that first game.”

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Hogg impressed Townsend during the Autumn Nations Series, particularly in the 52-29 win over Argentina in the final match. “He has been really good,” added the coach. “You saw his performances in November when he was enjoying his rugby. We saw that more as we went through those games and I thought he was excellent against Argentina – very creative and putting people in holes for tries.”

With 96 caps to his name, Hogg is on course to become just the fourth men’s Scotland player to win 100 caps and could reach the landmark against Ireland at Murrayfield on March 12.