Stuart Hogg backs Gregor Townsend to continue as Scotland head coach

Stuart Hogg is backing head coach Gregor Townsend despite Scotland's disappointing showing in Japan
Stuart Hogg is backing head coach Gregor Townsend despite Scotland's disappointing showing in Japan
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Stuart Hogg has thrown his support behind beleaguered Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend, insisting he's the right man for the job.

Townsend came under fire from fans and former players following Scotland's meek World Cup exit at the pool stage after losing to Ireland and hosts Japan.

The Scots finished third in Pool A, failing to make the knockout stages for only the second time in history.

However, Hogg - who has just joined English Premiership side Exeter Chiefs after nearly a decade with Glasgow Warriors - is backing his former Scotstoun head coach despite the disappointing World Cup campaign.

Speaking to BBC Sport, the 27-year-old full-back said: "Gregor and the rest of the coaching staff will look at themselves first and foremost and then come back to the players, because it'll hurt them just as much as us - they'll think to themselves, did they get everything right before even looking at the players."

Revealing there had been some "frank discussions" between members of the squad after the early exit, Hogg added: "We come back, and we learn, and we'll say we'll be better for this experience - yes, we will be in some parts, but how long can we keep saying that?

"We pride ourselves on our defence and our defence wasn't anywhere where it needs to be," he said.

Examining Scotland's shortcomings in Japan, particularly in the defeats to the hosts and Joe Schmidt's Irish team, Hogg admitted: "We coughed up a lot of ball at vital times and didn't make the most of our opportunities and we didn't apply as much pressure to the opposition as we're used to.

"It wasn't to be for us and the most frustrating thing for us is we didn't reach our potential, but you've got to do that in every single game, you can't wait for another challenge a week or two after, you've got to take it there and then, and unfortunately we didn't do that."

The 71-cap international is now keen to exorcise the ghosts of the 2019 World Cup by putting in a strong performance in the 2020 Six Nations tournament.

"We've had the hard truth and the hard facts, and by the look of it we'll get back on the horse come Six Nations time and make the most of it then."