In rugby as in life, trying to foresee the future is often to view things ‘through a glass darkly’ as it says in the Good Book (1 Corinthians, I believe) yet sometimes events occur which force us to think ahead and try and peer into the long term gloaming.

Scottish rugby has just experienced such an occasion. Something that nobody predicted, not even Nostradamus.

Stuart Hogg’s decision to give early notice of his intention to retire from playing after the World Cup in France is typical of this classy man. He has given his club and Scotland both a chance to note his immense contribution to the sport and to prepare for life without him.

If, as I expect him to, Gregor Townsend sees out his contract with the SRU and steps down as head coach after the World Cup then it really will be a changing of the guard for Scotland come October.

A number of the squad for the Guinness Six Nations are now in their 30s, and I expect more retirements after the World Cup or by the end of next season, so whoever takes over from Townsend will have to manage the transition that will undoubtedly take place. But it will be Hogg and Townsend themselves who will be the major losses after the World Cup.

READ MORE: Stuart Hogg's name secure among pantheon of Scotland greats

The good news is that there are people ready and prepared to step up into the squad in almost every position, and there’s certainly talent ready to don the boots of Hogg but less so in the case of Townsend who I believe will end up as head coach of the British and Irish Lions, though you would have to say Andy Farrell is a shoo-in for that job at the moment.

Let’s leave Toonie’s replacement for another time and concentrate on life after Hogg.

Scotland has been lucky to have had several world-class full backs, and Hogg is right up there with Ken Scotland, Andy Irvine and Gavin Hastings. I believe we have another player ready to take over the No 15 jersey and prove that he can join the pantheon of great full backs.

Blair Kinghorn’s sensational final try against Italy was some calling card for the soon to be vacant role of regular full back. Readers will know I have praised his versatility in the past, and he showed it again in the Italy match.

The Herald:

That try says so much about Kinghorn. He saw the chance was on and came into the line to feed Duhan van der Merwe, and then he matched the big winger’s burst up the touchline, collecting his inside pass and sprinting away from the pursuing Italians, none of whom are slow coaches. It was as good as any try Stuart Hogg has scored in the past and marked Kinghorn out as one for the Hogg-less future.

That final acceleration - in injury time, don’t forget – says it all about Kinghorn’s athleticism. He’s only 26 and his best years are conceivably still to come, so I think Gregor Townsend should have a word with Edinburgh Rugby to ensure that Kinghorn gets more game time at full back and some chances at kicking duties would also help him.

If Scotland continue to use Kinghorn as a utility back able to play at stand off, full back and on the wing I wouldn’t blame the coaching team, but an early indication that he will be Hogg’s replacement when the time comes would do wonders for his confidence.

It helps that there is genuine competition for the full back berth in the shape of Ollie Smith. The Glasgow Warrior is only 22 and may have to wait his time, but I can see Hogg seamlessly handing on to Kinghorn handing on to Smith.

READ MORE: Mike Blair full of praise for ‘once-in-a-generation talent’ Stuart Hogg

Finn Russell will turn 31 during the World Cup and I believe we will see the best of him in France where he has made his home. If Kinghorn is to go to full back then Adam Hastings can provide the back up to Russell and then make the No. 10 jersey his own as long as he stays free from injury.

Let’s all hope that the squad make it to France intact and emerge with credit. It’s the least that can be done for Hogg and Townsend who have both served Scotland so well.

I cannot finish this column this week without commenting on the BBC’s report that the current class action being taken against World Rugby and the English and Welsh unions over brain damage could see claims rocket to over £300m. There are already more than 200 ex-professional players involved in the legal action and that number is expected to rise.

I have no doubt that all the unions now take the problem of brain damage very seriously indeed, but that was not always the case and I fear that compensation in the millions is inevitable. Next week I will be suggesting what needs to be done about this looming tidal wave of trouble for our sport.