Hogg ‘buzzing’ for Scotland’s autumn clashes

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg has urged his side to target silverware in the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup, which kicks off in November.

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg has urged his side to target silverware in the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup, which kicks off in November.

Hogg is currently in the thick of a busy period for Exeter Chiefs, who play Northampton Saints in a European Champions Cup quarter-final this weekend and lead the English Premiership.

But the 28-year-old is also looking ahead to an exciting autumn of internationals and told the Scottish Rugby Official Podcast that he is “buzzing to get back in the Scotland camp.”

“We were playing some very good rugby towards the end of the Guinness Six Nations and I’m hoping we can keep everybody fit,” Hogg said.

“Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves in the Six Nations so hopefully we can pick up where we left off. There are a few exciting games coming up, with the new Autumn Nations Cup as well, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Scotland currently sit third in the 2020 Guinness Six Nations and round off their campaign with a trip to Wales on October 31.

Gregor Townsend’s side are still in with a mathematical chance of lifting the trophy – though Scotland need to beat Wales, hope Italy beat both England and Ireland and that Wales and Ireland draw.

Autumn Nations Cup group matches against Italy, France and Fiji follow and Hogg believes Scotland are well placed to challenge.

“There is a trophy at the end of it and as a professional rugby player all you want to do is win trophies,” he told hosts Chris Paterson and Al Kellock.

“We have to go all guns blazing and give ourselves every opportunity to win silverware. There is still a chance we can win the Six Nations – there’s a lot to be done in terms of results going our way – but I feel we are in a very good place.

“We are building towards the next World Cup so for us to give ourselves every chance of winning trophies is massive.

“I enjoyed playing against Fiji last time. They are unbelievable individual rugby players and they are getting better as a collective. We are looking forward to them coming to BT Murrayfield. Hopefully we can have some fans there too, that would be ideal.”

The clashes with Italy and France, meanwhile, offer a chance for Scotland to back up their impressive performances in the respective fixtures in this year’s Guinness Six Nations.

“Winning 17-0 in Italy last time was a real confidence boost,” said the full-back, who scored Scotland’s first try in Rome in February.

“To keep them to zero points was massive for us and it gave us a real lift going into the France game. It was a turning point for us – we defended well, got a win and backed it up a fortnight later.

“Turning over France at home was another massive result for us. It will be another massive challenge and a physical test but I believe we are in a great place and can turn them over.”

Hogg has been in regular contact with Townsend throughout lockdown and expects to see plenty of opportunities offered to players amid an intense schedule of six Test matches in seven weeks.

He is also set to line up alongside several of his clubmates, with Exeter now home to a stellar cast of Scotland internationals.

“Big Jon (Jonny Gray) is loving it,” Hogg said. “All he’s interested in now is swimming in the sea! But he’s been brilliant for us and he’s gone up another notch.

“Sam Hidalgo-Clyne is going alright as well, he’s had a bit of game time, and Sam Skinner is here as well.

“We are taking a bit of heat – first of all it was the Northern Irish boys signing, then it was the Aussies and now it’s the Scots. But we look out for each other and stand up to the English!”

To listen to the full episode, which also includes Rachel Malcolm looking ahead to the return of the Women’s Six Nations in October, click here.