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Hogg called up as Scots seek to roast Saxons again

Ally Hogg's international exile may be coming to an end after the 31-year-old loose forward was named in the Scotland A squad to take on England Saxons at Scotstoun next week.

Allister Hogg in action for Scotland against Tonga in 2009, the last year he featured for the national side. Picture: SNS
Allister Hogg in action for Scotland against Tonga in 2009, the last year he featured for the national side. Picture: SNS

Hogg, who has been in outstanding form for Newcastle Falcons recently, won 48 caps for Scotland between 2004 and 2009, but mysteriously disappeared off the Test scene after Andy Robinson, who had picked him to start in every match during his first year as Edinburgh coach, assumed responsibility for the national side.

Hogg made his Scotland A debut, against Romania, in 2002. That year, still just 19, he also sat on the bench for the full side against the USA in San Francisco, but missed his chance to become the youngest Scottish forward for more than 50 years as he was not called into action.

Five players who are currently involved in the Scotland training camp for the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations Championship - Kieran Low, Dougie Fife, Greig Tonks, Jonny Gray and Rob Harley - have been released for the A team. while most will see it as a chance to press their case for promotion, Tonks is entitled to feel disappointed after some impressive displays at fly-half for Edinburgh recently.

While Scotland coach Scott Johnson and Shade Munro, who continues as A team coach, may feel that Tonks's conversion from full-back is not yet compete, there are no such qualms about Richie Vernon, the former Scotland No.8 who has been picked among the backs after just one appearance as a replacement centre for Glasgow.

Munro's assistants for next week's game will be Glasgow backs coach Kenny Murray and Edinburgh forwards coach Steve Scott. Having beaten the Saxons at Netherdale two years ago, and then won again in Newcastle last year, the Scots second-stringers are now chasing an unprecedented third consecutive victory over their English counterparts.

Munro said: "This is a game the players and supporters all look forward to as it's a one-off match and it's fantastic that we're playing the game in Glasgow this year for the first time.

"I'm delighted to have been named head coach once again and after last year's victory down in England and our success at Netherdale two years ago, we're looking to try to continue our good record against the Saxons.

"We'll be coming together as a squad next week. I'm pleased with the mix of promising young talent and hard-nosed experience that we have in the squad and we'll look forward to performing at Scotstoun."

Euan Murray, the Scotland prop who was already ruled out of early involvement in the Six Nations due to an ankle injury - as well as the fact the opening match, against Ireland, takes place on a Sunday, ruling him out on religious grounds - has suffered another setback after damaging his hand while chopping wood at a barbecue organised by his club, Worcester Warriors. It is not yet clear whether the accident will extend his stay on the sidelines or not.

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