STUART Hogg never likes basking in praise after games, invariably insisting it is all about the team rather than him. But yesterday he had to concede that he had achieved a very individual accomplishment when his try in the 29-20 win over Japan put him out on his own as Scotland’s all-time record try-scorer.

The full-back had been inching ever closer to the record for some time, and his two tries seven days earlier against South Africa brought him level on 24 with Ian Smith and Tony Stanger. But, while he was honoured to share that record with two men who had both won Grand Slams with Scotland, it was always going to be that bit more special when he added one more to stand alone at the top of the scoring chart.

“I loved it,” the Scotland captain said.” And I loved to then be told by Ali Price and Hamish Watson to put the ball down before I celebrate!

“But I absolutely loved it. I think you can see in my reaction how much it meant to me, but the main thing is we got a good win and we’ll take it and move on.”

On the eve of the game Hogg had called on his team-mates to put in a complete, 80-minute performance - something he was convinced they had not done in the earlier victories over Tonga and Australia or the loss to South Africa. He accepted they had not managed to do that yesterday either, but, while saying there were things that needed to be worked on, he praised Japan for a spirited performance. 

“Not far from where we need to be,” he continued. “At times we were spot on. I think the first period of defensive play was absolutely outstanding: it was 16-17 phases we defended for.

“Our discipline at times wasn’t where we need it to be. But we won a Test match, we managed to win three of four games in the autumn, and the exciting thing for me is we’re not quite satisfied with everything that happened.

“It was our last opportunity together for a couple of months, we wanted to put in a performance that we’re proud of, and at times we were very, very clinical. We were good defensively.

“We’re yet to find the complete 80-minute performance, but I think that was because we were put under a lot of pressure by Japan. They managed to hold onto the ball for large periods of the game, and the ref was favouring the attacking side, so we just had to take our medicine and be clinical when we got an opportunity.

“The key thing is we all learn individually and we all learn collectively and make sure we’re in a better position when we come back in the Six Nations. Hopefully we keep everybody fit and we keep challenging each other, but for me I’d love to see a complete 80-minute performance. I know it’s a massive ask, but I wouldn’t ask for it if I didn’t believe we could do it.”

There was one moment of apparent confusion late in the game when, with his team only six points ahead, Finn Russell appeared to suggest that he send a penalty to touch. Hogg disagreed, pointing out that another three points would take Scotland more than a full score ahead of Japan, who would almost certainly not have enough time left in which to score twice. It was the captain’s decision to make, and in the end Russell duly went for goal and scored what turned out to be the last points of the game.

But far from being a moment of even minor disagreement, Hogg explained that Russell’s intervention had only been designed to take another 20 seconds or so off the clock rather than a serious suggestion to go for touch. “I don’t want to give away our tactics, but he told me after the game he was only winding me up, which was fine because there were three of us against him and I like to think he was going to listen to us.

“It was never in doubt that we were going to the posts. But he just thought he’d try and waste a little bit of time by winding me up - and wind me up he did.”