Stuart Hogg: Scotland ready to take Six Nations by storm

There have been many false dawns down the years, but full-back Stuart Hogg truly believes that exciting times beckon in 2017 for Scotland.
Scotland's Stuart Hogg (left) runs in to score a try during the autumn international. Picture: PAScotland's Stuart Hogg (left) runs in to score a try during the autumn international. Picture: PA
Scotland's Stuart Hogg (left) runs in to score a try during the autumn international. Picture: PA

Hogg was once again the star of the show with two brilliantly-taken tries in the 43-16 thumping of Georgia at Rugby Park and is now relishing the start of the Six Nations when Scotland host Ireland in the opening match on 4 February.

“Is this our time? I believe so,” said Hogg. “We’ll just keep concentrating on ourselves, we’ll keep grounded, we’ll keep working hard.

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“We will look at teams in depth and where opportunities lie in attack and defence.

“Hopefully everyone can stay fit and come Six Nations time we’ll all have some good form under our belts. That will increase competition.

“We believe we can win every single game. If you go in with any other mentality you’ll get beat. We fully believe in each other and will back the coaching staff over the hill and back. We’re ready.”

Scotland coach Vern Cotter was full of praise for his prize attacking weapon and said: “He is one of the most exciting players. He runs the ball from deep and if he gets in outside channels he is lethal. What I like about Stuart is the variation he brings to the game. The kick he put in behind shows he can also identify opportunities. Rather than just running he is adding more strings to his bow.

“He also has people around him like Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland and Tim Visser and those guys who feed off each other. Just now attack coach Jason O’Halloran is doing a great job helping them improve their skillsets and vision on the game. It is nice to be able to have Stuart and [stand-off] Finn [Russell] to take full advantage of that.”

Hogg believes a minimum target of three wins in next year’s Six Nations is achievable. “I believe so,” he said. “We’ve got good depth in our team. Everyone is competing for places which makes training a lot, lot better.

“I think we’re in a very good place. We worked incredibly hard over these last couple of years to get where we are. We are excited and need to make the most of every opportunity we get in a Scotland jersey.

“We’re playing some fantastic rugby and when we get good set-piece ball and get on the front foot, we look dangerous. We will keep grounded, keep working hard and when the Six Nations comes along we will fire into it.”

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Hogg admitted that he benefited from a perfect bounce for his first try, when he collected his own chip ahead and scorched into the right-hand corner.

“It was pure luck,” said the full-back, who is now just two caps short of his half-century. “I’m not going to lie about it. It was a little chip and chase and the ball bounced my way. If it hadn’t I think they could have ended up under our posts. You need that luck in international rugby so we will take it.

“I love scoring tries. I could have scored a couple for Glasgow the other week but knackered that up a wee bit.

“For the second try, Ali Price took a quick tap and passed the boy outside. He had Rory Hughes supporting on the outside and he then put me in down in the corner. All I had to do was be in the right place at the right time. The other boys did the business for me so I thanked them both at the end.”