Stuart Hogg boost for Scotland as Exeter coach provides fitness update ahead of Six Nations

Stuart Hogg is set to hand Scotland a major boost ahead of the Six Nations by returning from a troublesome heel injury this weekend.

The Exeter full-back is back in full training and in line to make his comeback after five weeks out in the Premiership fixture with Gloucester on Saturday. Hogg has been training with Scotland this week in the build-up to the Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham on February 4.

“I believe he is in full training with Scotland,” said Exeter head coch Rob Baxter on Wednesday. “He did a fair bit of training with us last week. Kind of the first time in an extended period. He got some through more metres and was moving at more speed and was declared fit to go and train with Scotland. So he is up and running now and available for selection.”

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Meawhile, Hogg's Exeter team-mate Luke Cowan-Dickie’s hopes of playing any part in England’s Six Nations have been dashed after Baxter confirmed he will not return to action until the end of the season.

Stuart Hogg during a Scotland training session at the Oriam this week. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Cowan-Dickie suffered an ankle injury against Northampton on January 7 and, having been ruled out for an unspecified period of time, Baxter gave a timeline for his recovery that prevents him from taking part in the championship.

The news is a blow to England, whose resources at hooker have been further depleted by Jamie George’s concussion and a knee problem incurred by George McGuigan.

Unless George recovers in time for the opener against Scotland, it means the uncapped Jack Walker will start in the number two jersey, with three-cap international Tom Dunn providing bench cover.

“The length of Luke’s injury means he should be back before the end of the season. The challenge will be whether it’s one or two weeks before the end of the season,” Baxter said.

“It’s not going to be a big chunk of the season that he gets back available for.”

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