Stuart Hogg 'still not training' but injury situation 'improving' as Six Nations countdown continues

Scotland star Stuart Hogg’s injury situation has been described as “an improving picture” as the countdown to this season’s Guinness Six Nations continues.

Scotland's Stuart Hogg is in a race against time to be fit for the Six Nations opener against England at Twickenham on February 4. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Scotland's Stuart Hogg is in a race against time to be fit for the Six Nations opener against England at Twickenham on February 4. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Hogg has missed Exeter’s last three games, including a Heineken Champions Cup appointment with the Bulls in South Africa last weekend, due to a heel injury.

But Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter believes Hogg is on course to recover in time for the Six Nations.

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Scotland’s opening fixture is against England at Twickenham on February 4, before Wales travel to Murrayfield seven days later.

Full-back Hogg, who has won 96 caps, is comfortably the most experienced player named by Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend in his Six Nations squad.

“The heel is improving,” Baxter said. “We gave him until the Saturday before we flew (to South Africa). He still couldn’t run with pace or any distance.

“It is an improving picture, but he is still not training. It is not like a significant ligament or cartilage (problem) or something like that, so there is an expectation he will come through this in time for the Six Nations.”

Meanwhile, Hogg’s club team-mate Henry Slade is now available for the Calcutta Cup match after the red card he received on Exeter duty was rescinded.

Slade was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Bulls full-back Kurt-Lee Arendse in a 39-28 Heineken Champions Cup defeat in Pretoria on Saturday night.

The decision was overturned by an independent disciplinary hearing after it was decided that, while the Chiefs centre had committed an act of foul play, it was not a red-card offence, European Professional Club Rugby announced on Wednesday.

It clears Slade to face Castres in Exeter’s final pool game on Saturday as well as compete with Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi, Joe Marchant, Elliot Daly and Dan Kelly for a place in England’s midfield.

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