Scotland's Stuart Hogg ready to ‘rock and roll again’ - discussions with neurologist, losing weight and cutting down alcohol

Stuart Hogg has hailed the impact wellbeing coach Ben Scott has had on the Scotland squad and revealed that regular dialogue with the neurologist has helped him cope with a turbulent end to last season.

Stuart Hogg, with Damien Hoyland, during Scotland training at Oriam. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The full-back is preparing to lead his country into November Tests against Australia, South Africa and Japan and says he feels refreshed after a gruelling summer playing at the highest level with his club, Exeter Chiefs, and the British & Irish Lions.

The Scotland captain has taken steps to prioritise his physical and mental health. He has lost five kilogrammes and reduced his alcohol consumption and says he feels refreshed, energised and “ready to rock and roll again”.

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“I am feeling really well,” said Hogg at the media launch for the Autumn Nations Series. “I have played four games for Exeter this season and absolutely loved it. I had a good holiday and worked incredibly hard to get back into shape and made a few subtle changes and I am ready to rock and roll again.”

A dejected Stuart Hogg after Exeter Chiefs' defeat by Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership final. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Hogg said that speaking with wellbeing expert Scott helped him come to terms with some of the disappointments of the last campaign. The full-back was dropped to the bench by Exeter for the Premiership semi-final and final and then found himself left out by the Lions for the third and decisive Test against South Africa after playing in the first two.

He set about finding ways of moving on from the setbacks and sought the help of Scott who has been Scotland’s wellbeing coach since January.

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“We’re seen examples in the last year or so at the Olympics and other huge occasions where people haven’t quite been able to be themselves or perform to their full ability because the mental side wasn’t where it needs to be,” said Hogg.

“We’re very fortunate to have Ben Scott in the camp and he’s worked wonders with individuals and with us as a team. We’re learning all the time about the different things that help us with our mindset and mental health. And he’s been absolutely tremendous.

“For me it’s been a massive difference since the Lions tour.

“I was struggling with how the back end of last season finished – dropped for the semi-final and the final for the Chiefs and then wasn’t selected for the third Test match. That’s something that really hurt me personally and I wanted to add the one percenters to make the difference and not go back to those mindsets that I was in back then.”

Hogg said the “one per cent changes” included losing weight and cutting down his alcohol intake has also helped.

“I want to be in a position to play in every single game I can. I got to the stage at the back end of last season after playing so much rugby that my body was affecting my mood.

“If I was stiff and sore it was affecting the way I was going around my work. For everybody that knows me I’m quite a happy and lively person and I want to be like that every single day. I don’t want to be up and down like a yo-yo so I’m trying my best to look after my body because I know that’s going to look after me on the weekends.”

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