STUART HOGG has become the latest full international player to be drafted into Scotland's Commonwealth Games sevens squad following confirmation that the Glasgow Warriors full-back is to take the place of Tommy Seymour, who has been ruled out by a neck injury.
Hogg, 22, who was the youngest member of the British and Irish Lions squad in Australia last year, has played 24 times for Scotland and started in all four of the recent summer tour games against the USA, Canada, Argentina and South Africa. His tries against the USA and Argentina brought his tally of Test touchdowns to six.
Although he has never played the abbreviated game at international level, a statement from the Scotland team management stressed that Hogg's background on the Borders sevens circuit and his renowned attacking skills made him the ideal kind of player for the Commonwealth tournament, which will take place at Ibrox on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July.
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The choice of Hogg is another blow for specialist players who had represented Scotland on the IRB international sevens circuit over the past season but then missed out on selection for the Commonwealth Games squad. Among those overlooked is Andrew Turnbull, the winger who is Scotland's all-time top try-scorer in sevens.
However, Scotland sevens coach Stephen Gemmell said that he was happy to have Hogg on board. "I'm delighted to be able to bring a player of Stuart's calibre into our Commonwealth Games squad," said Gemmell. "I would like to thank Team Scotland, Scottish Rugby and Glasgow Warriors in helping make this selection happen.
"Stuart is somebody who has shown at every level of his XVs career what he is capable of. He is a player who excites fans and he has shown time and time again he can contribute significantly in both attack and defence.
"His game understanding along with the skills he has developed as a professional will I am sure prove a strong addition to our existing playing group. I'm excited about him joining the squad and contributing to a successful performance at Ibrox."
The other players in the Games squad who have had little or no involvement with the Scotland international sevens side over the past year include Sean Lamont, Richie Vernon, Roddy Grant and Mark Bennett. However, Gemmell's policy of drafting players from beyond the core group paid dividends at the Emirates tournament in Glasgow in May, when the Scots, strengthened by players like Vernon, Nick De Luca and Lee Jones, won a place in the semi-finals, their best result of the season.