Stuart Hogg wasn't aware he had equalled Townsend try tally

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend revealed that he felt like he was the only one in the stadium not celebrating when Stuart Hogg pounced for the opening try within 90 seconds of Saturday's 44-38 win over Samoa.

Stuart Hogg dives over to score Scotland's first try after just 90 seconds of the opening autumn Test against Samoa at BT Murrayfield. Picture: SNS

It must be clarified, however, that the lack of emotion was not because Hogg had just equalled his own record of 17 Scotland tries. The coach was referring to the fact that the high of an early try can often lead to a dip, which is what transpired.

Hogg himself had no idea that the score, which saw him capitalise on a fortuitous bounce following Tommy Seymour’s kick ahead, had brought him equal fourth on the all-time list in the illustrious company of Townsend, Gavin Hastings and Alan Tait. Chris Paterson’s 22 and the record 24 shared by Ian Smith and fellow Hawick man Tony Stanger are now in the full-back’s sight.

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“I wasn’t aware of that. It’s pretty cool,” said Hogg after the high-scoring match which would see another ten tries scored. “It was right place, right time for that try. We got ourselves into some good positions at times and fortunately the ball bounced into my hands.

“On another day that ball could have bounced elsewhere; fortunately it came into my hands. We were fully aware of the challenge coming our way. We knew they had absolutely nothing to lose so they would chuck the ball about and have some fun.”

Hogg was happy to be part of another Scotland win but accepted that much work needs to be done before the visit of world champions New Zealand.

“For us, our basic skills let us down at times,” said the 25-year-old. “Our catch-pass, number to breakdowns, width and depth on the ball – these are little areas we work incredibly hard on through the week but they didn’t come off for us at times.

“We pulled the boys in just before half-time and said we need to go back to basics and off the back of that we scored two cracking tries. When we get the basic things right we are a very good team.”

Defence was another glaring issue of concern as the Samoans responded to Scotland’s six tries with five of their own.

“Definitely,” said the Glasgow Warriors star, who was winning his 54th cap. “We have a good defence coach in Matt Taylor, who was pretty annoyed after the game.

“We owe it to him to stand up and defend well and stop these boys getting over the gain line. If we gain momentum, space will open up somewhere, but on the flipside of that we need to be a lot better in defence.

“He [Taylor] didn’t say very much [after the game], which is a bad thing. He’s probably going to unleash hell on Monday. We fully expect that to happen. We pride ourselves on our defence and it wasn’t good enough. We will work on that and hopefully next week there will be a big improvement.”

Hogg is relishing the prospect of a crack against the best team in the world after missing out in the summer when a fractured cheekbone ended his Lions tour prematurely.

“I was bitterly disappointed not to play them in the summer,” he said. “Hopefully I get an opportunity next week to take them on. It’s an honour and privilege to be in a Scotland jersey and hopefully we can knock them over.

“We are more than capable of knocking them over. We fully believe we can go out there and get a victory. If you don’t believe that you’re in the wrong place.

“We are fully aware of what the All Blacks are capable of. We will just concentrate on ourselves and make sure we get our game plan spot-on and get the basic things right. That’s half the battle. It’s going to be one hell of a challenge next week. We will enjoy this victory, but come Monday we get back on the horse and get going again.

“First and foremost, we concentrate on ourselves. We are not going out there to stand back and watch and admire the All Blacks. We want to be in a position to shut them down defensively. If we don’t it will be a long day. What better opportunity than to play the All Blacks at home?”

Although he wasn’t involved in the drawn Test series, Hogg believes the Lions, who won the second Test, have shown that the All Blacks are not invincible.

“The Lions were really close to pulling off one hell of a victory,” he continued. “We will look to [fellow Lions tourists] Tommy [Seymour], Greig [Laidlaw] and Finn [Russell] for what the gameplan was and add it to ours.

“We have a very intelligent group of coaches who no doubt have a game plan ready to go. We’ve all played the 
All Blacks at some stage of our careers. If we stand back and admire it is going to be a 
long day.”