Stuart Hogg may be the one pulling on the captain’s armband during the 2020 Guinness Six Nations but he claims that leading the Scotland squad will be a group effort.
Head coach Gregor Townsend named Hogg as skipper when announcing his 38-man group for the Championship earlier this week – the flying full-back taking the reins from Stuart McInally and the now-retired Greig Laidlaw, who led Scotland during the World Cup.
Despite still only being 27 years old, Hogg is the most experienced man in the squad, with 72 international caps under his belt, and will try to lead his country to an improvement on last year’s fifth-placed finish.
But the two-time Guinness Six Nations Player of the Championship is keen to make it clear that steering the ship will be far from a one-man show.
“It won’t just be down to me. It’ll be down to us all,” said Hogg. “Finn Russell has really stood up as a leader in the way he, first and foremost, plays but also the way he drives standards during the week. He drives our attack and is a huge influence in that area.
“Rambo [Stuart McInally] and Fraz [Fraser Brown] up front – two players who have a lot of experience and are right in the brunt of everything that happens – and those younger players coming through, Jamie Ritchie for one, will all contribute.
“We’re a collective unit. Our motto of ‘As One’ is not just the team, it’s absolutely everything involved with Scottish rugby.
“We want the fans to look at us and be happy with what they’re seeing and see a bit of them in the way we’re playing.
“That comes down to regular meetings, high standards and the enjoyment in the opportunity. That’s when we’re at our best, when we’ve smile on our faces and we’re expressing ourselves.”
Hogg is one of the most exciting rugby players of his generation – a game-breaking threat from full-back capable of leaving defenders trailing in his wake.
His love of pulling on the Scotland jersey has always been clear, so what sort of leader does he plan to be?
“I feel very honoured to lead this team. There’s a time to bring passion and calmness when things are going well and when things aren’t going quite so well,” added Hogg. “Momentum shifts are massive in rugby.
“Yes, passion is important but there’s a time and place. I want the players to be emotional about the games, have a sense of pride in putting on the jersey and use that in the right way so it comes out in how we defend and how we attack.”