When Stuart Hogg ran out at BT Murrayfield to earn his 100th cap for Scotland, only four other people on the planet knew what that special feeling was like.
The 30-year-old Exeter Chiefs’ full-back from the famous rugby town of Hawick in the Borders wore his familiar number 15 jersey against Ireland in the Round 4 Guinness Six Nations clash – and it promises to be a special day for him and his family.
He followed fellow males Ross Ford (110 caps), Chris Paterson (109 caps) and Sean Lamont (105 caps) in reaching the three figure mark for Scotland.
And Donna Kennedy, who earned 115 caps for Scotland Women, leads the way in terms of the number of senior appearances for Scotland.
Hogg, who made his debut off the bench away to Wales in Cardiff as a 19-year-old in 2012 and has since started 99 games, has now joined the ‘Scottish centurions’ club and become the fifth member of the exclusive group.
Let’s hear what the three-time British & Irish Lions tourist’s fellow 100-cappers make of his achievement…
Ford, a hooker whose caps came between 2004 and 2017, said: “When Stuart joined the squad as a young player, he was just full of energy and was buzzing about the place, it was quite refreshing for us older guys.
“You could see straight away that he was going to be some player, there was excitement whenever he got on the ball and he always wanted to take people on and cause defenders headaches.
“He brought something different to the party on and off the field and it really was a breath of fresh air.
“When he beat a man in those early days things would open up for the team and, since I have stopped playing, that has continued and he is now part of a very exciting backline.
“Some youngsters come into a squad environment and can be a bit frightened to speak up, but Stuart never was and his rugby knowledge, even at a young age, was excellent.
“It was a pleasure to be his team mate over the years and he has worked hard for everything that’s come his way. The Scottish supporters know how much he’s given to the cause and I hope he has a great day on Sunday.”
Paterson, the back three man who occasionally played stand-off between 1999 and 2011, said: “I am just really pleased for Stuart that he has got to this point because from an early age it was clear to see that he was the kind of player who would excite supporters while his work ethic really is second to none.
“I was first aware of Stuart when he was around 16 or 17 years of age and he was on the rugby course at the Borders College.
“We were playing a game of Touch on my visit there and this nippy little youngster with a bit to say for himself shot by me and showed incredible footwork.
“When he is on top of his game there are few players who are more pleasing on the eye to watch in attack and his hunger and desire to always do well for Scotland is there for all to see.
“Sometimes over the years he has been hard on himself, but that is just because he has high standards and when he is feeling good and playing at tempo he always causes defences problems.
“Reaching 100 caps it’ll be a proud moment for him and his family – he’s an amazing talent who still has a lot to give at the top level.”
Lamont, who represented his country on the wing between 2004 and 2016, said: “I spent a lot of time with Stuart over the years because we were often room mates when we were with Glasgow Warriors and Scotland.
“He was a pretty self-assured character when he first came into the Scotland set-up and senior players like Ross Ford, Greig Laidlaw and myself made sure that he kept his feet on the ground.
“We didn’t need to worry though because he just loved – and still does love – playing for Scotland and he set himself high standards from those early days so that he could try and help the country be successful.
“He is so fiercely Scottish, fiercely competitive and he just loves rugby. If we weren’t training or playing in a game he’d always be watching other matches on TV and picking up bits here and there, he has always been looking to get better and find that edge. He eats, sleeps and breathes the game.
“Stuart is one of the most driven guys I know and to be at the top of the game for 11 years now deserves real credit.
“Sunday will be a big one for him and those around him, but there is no doubt in my mind that he can go on for a while yet after this appearance and become Scotland’s record cap holder of all time.”
And Kennedy, whose amazing haul of caps came mainly at No.8 between 1993 and 2010, said: “Stuart is just a delight to watch when he plays for Scotland, as soon as he gets the ball it’s electric and you never know what might happen.
Pace 🔥#AsOne https://t.co/aE700J69z0 pic.twitter.com/q4WGyQv8YU
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) March 10, 2023
“He has been a stalwart at 15 for such a long time and he deserves every plaudit that comes his way in the coming days and weeks. To stay at the top of your game for over a decade takes real resilience and a solid work ethic and he seems to really have those traits.
“It will be a very special day for the Hogg family on Sunday. As a player he will be focused on the game first and foremost, but in the back of his mind he’ll know that it is that bit different than every other Test and that everyone will be willing him on to do well.
“The best way his team mates can mark his milestone is by winning the game with him and, having seem the kind of character he is, he will be determined to make that happen.
“And it is great that he is getting to this point during a home game at Murrayfield. meaning a full house can show their appreciation towards him in the flesh.”