• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Hogg 'happiest at full-back'

Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg has hinted he would prefer interim head coach Scott Johnson resists calls to move him into the midfield for this week's clash with Italy.

Hogg was Scotland's top performer during their clash with England at Twickenham
Hogg was Scotland's top performer during their clash with England at Twickenham

Hogg was the Scots' top performer at Twickenham as they kicked off their RBS 6 Nations campaign with a disappointing 38-18 defeat to England.

The Calcutta Cup fixture ultimately ended with a 20-point margin separating the teams but there were areas to take consolation from for the losers.

And the display by the Glasgow back was the most reassuring aspect for Johnson as Hogg set up Sean Maitland's opening try before adding a late touchdown himself.

But the occasions when he could get on the ball were frustratingly seldom and former Scotland stand-off Craig Chalmers has already appealed to Johnson to push the 20-year-old up to outside centre in a bid to get him involved more often.

Hogg insisted he would play anywhere he's asked but suggested that he'd prefer to stay where he is.

He told Press Association Sport: "I enjoyed playing my part down there against England but it is a team game after all. I'm just honoured to be a part of that team.

"Hopefully I'll be in the team again for the Italy game when it gets named tomorrow.

"Wherever I'm played, I'm just happy to get a jersey.

"I enjoy being at 15. I get plenty of space there that I can utilise for my kicking game, or I can use my passing game and, as you saw at the weekend, my running game.

"So I'm happy to play wherever but I enjoy 15 mostly.

"I'll speak to the coaches and see what they want from me. It's down to them after all."

Johnson did not hold back with his criticisms of a team that failed to get to grips with England's powerful pack at the breakdowns.

Those words stung a deflated Scotland squad that travelled south ahead of the game determined to end a 30-year wait for a victory on English soil.

Hogg, though, admits the harsh tones of Johnson's assessment where merited but insists they have not pierced the side's fragile morale ahead of the Murrayfield meeting with the Italians on Sunday.

"We are all disappointed with the loss against England," he said. "But we have to move on.

"We have Italy coming up on Saturday, so we have drawn a line under the game at Twickenham and are focused on the game ahead.

"If Scott has something to say he won't be scared to tell us. It's good to have a coach that has a bit of banter with the boys but when it comes to rugby, he's serious.

"He was hurting as well after that defeat because we could have won it in certain areas. We know where we went wrong.

"Now it's about turning negatives into positives this weekend and working hard throughout the week to get a vital win against Italy.

"But we are still high on confidence because we did perform really well on Saturday.

"We can now take that confidence forward. Italy will come on a high as well, and we will need to match them. It should be a tasty encounter."

Italy's self-belief is soaring following their incredible victory over France on Sunday.

The 23-18 triumph in Rome is the latest proof of the Italians' maturing style of play and Hogg admits they are no longer the minnows of the championship.

"It doesn't surprise me at all," he said. "Italy is a tough place to go. We were trounced there last season, unfortunately.

"With a team like France it is tough. But you always get the occasional French team that travels away from home and you have to ask: 'Is this a full-strength squad? Are they going to turn up? Is their attitude right?

"But Italy utilised their game really well and played to their strengths.

"It's amazing that you can bring a boy like Kris Burton off the bench. It's outstanding to have a guy like that to come on and close out the game.

"They are a good side now who deserve their place in the 6 Nations."

Contextual targeting label: 
retail

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

139008