One of only three men to win the Player of the Championship accolade more than once, Stuart Hogg has proven time and time again why he is one of the best full-backs in world rugby.
The Scotland sensation always brought his A Game to Rugby’s Greatest Championship, leading from the back with his breaks from deep and often leaving a trail of defenders in his wake.
In fact, it was in the 2013 Championship where Hogg showed his ability on the international stage for the very first time and signalled what was to come in the years that followed.
He has since been an instrumental player for Scotland both on and off the pitch, with his Player of the Championship wins in 2016 and 2017 highlighting his value to the team.
So it is no surprise then that Hogg is another strong contender for the Greatest XV, a player who is rightly considered among the legendary No.15’s who have graced this Championship.
PATH TO THE TOP
Hogg showed his promise with the oval ball from an early age, with the Hawick native representing Scotland at U17, U18 and U20 level after playing for Borders U16 and U17.
Named Player of the Year for Scotland U17s and later captaining the U18s, he went on to earn five caps competing for his country in the U20 Six Nations and the World Championship in 2011.
Having played club rugby for Hawick Wanderers, Hawick and Heriot’s, he continued his rise through the ranks by signing his first professional contract with Glasgow Warriors.
It did not take him long to make an impact at Scotstoun, becoming the club’s starting full-back by the 2011/2012 campaign and being selected in the Pro12 dream team a season later.
And Hogg soon went from making waves at club and junior level to earning senior international recognition, with his first cap arriving in the 2012 Championship as a sub against Wales in Cardiff.
Two weeks later, having impressed with his showing off the bench, he made his first start against France and marked the occasion with his maiden try with only eight minutes played.
MAKING HIS MARK
With one Championship already under his belt, Hogg went into the 2013 edition more settled and hit the ground running with a try against England in their opening game at Twickenham.
Another try followed in the next round against Italy, intercepting the ball on his own side’s five-metre line before running 95 metres to dot down for his third international score.
He also played a pivotal role when Scotland defeated Ireland in Edinburgh en route to a third-place finish, before featuring in every game in the 2014 Championship the following year.
And while the 2015 Championship was tough for Scotland, Hogg continued to shine as he made the most metres (442), beat the most defenders (18) and made the second-most carries (63).
It was not just in the international arena where Hogg made his presence felt either, enjoying a successful domestic season with Warriors as they won their first Pro12 title in 2015.
He went on to play in all five of Scotland’s Rugby World Cup games that year as they reached the quarter-final stage before being knocked out – but the best was still yet to come from Hogg.
PLAYER OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Following a difficult 2015 Championship, Scotland came out firing in 2016 and Hogg was at the heart of the action, creating two tries as they defeated Italy in Rome first up.
He then scored his country’s opening try against France at BT Murrayfield before producing an outrageous assist for Tim Visser to seal a first win over Les Bleus in a decade.
The then 23-year-old delivered once again at the Aviva Stadium, scoring from inside his own half against Ireland as his stellar performances earned him his first Player of the Championship award.
Hogg continued his superb form in the 2017 Championship, crossing twice against Ireland in Edinburgh in a memorable 27-22 victory for the hosts in their opening contest.
He added a further score against France in Paris as Scotland achieved three wins for the first time since 2006, with Hogg winning the public vote once again to take Player of the Championship.
Former Ireland centre Brian O’Driscoll and France scrum-half Antoine Dupont are the only other players to land the accolade more than once, highlighting the significance of Hogg’s double achievement.
Hogg has since remained a fixture of Gregor Townsend’s back three, adding to his try tally against Italy in the 2020 Championship, before ensuring his place in Scotland history when he became their record try scorer in 2021.