Player of the Championship – Classic Winners: Stuart Hogg 2017

Stuart Hogg POTC 2017
It’s often said that retaining a title is harder than winning one in the first place – clearly no-one told Stuart Hogg.

It’s often said that retaining a title is harder than winning one in the first place – clearly no-one told Stuart Hogg.

Having been named as the Six Nations Player of the Championship in 2016, Hogg was a marked man when the following year’s edition got underway.

But the extra attention didn’t stop the marauding full-back putting in a string of exceptional displays as Scotland enjoyed their best campaign since 2006, winning three of their five matches.

Hogg was at the heart of his side’s success and became just the second player to win back-to-back Player of the Championship awards.

In doing so, he followed in Brian O’Driscoll’s footsteps after the Irish legend had done likewise in 2006 and 2007 – and it was a blistering performance against the Men in Green that set Hogg on his way…


Scotland’s clash with Ireland was the first match of the 2017 Championship and Hogg wasted no time in stamping his authority on the competition.

Within 20 minutes, the full-back had gone outside Garry Ringrose before dummying his way past Rob Kearney to dot down twice and open up a 14-0 lead for the hosts.

In the process, he became his country’s highest ever Six Nations try scorer on nine – but Ireland threatened to spoil the party as they scored 17 unanswered points from 21-5 down.

Two Greig Laidlaw penalties took Scotland ahead once more and they were able to celebrate their first Round 1 victory for 11 years, with Hogg named Player of the Match.


Hogg had another landmark to look forward to when his side travelled to Paris in Round 2.

The then-Glasgow Warriors star won his 50th cap in the French capital and marked the occasion the only way he knows how – by crossing the whitewash.

Huw Jones drew an overlap and released Hogg to do the necessary in the 16th minute, raising hopes of a first Scottish win at the Stade de France since 1999.

The hosts ultimately came back to win 22-16 despite a brave Scottish effort – Hogg will lead his side to the same stadium on Friday evening looking to end their long wait for a victory across the Channel.


To describe Wales as Scotland’s bogey team ahead of the Round 3 clash at BT Murrayfield would have been an understatement.

Wales had won nine consecutive meetings between the sides and the hosts knew their mercurial full-back would have to come to the party if they were to stem the tide.

Hogg may not have got on the scoresheet but played an integral part in both Scottish tries, timing passes perfectly to release Tim Visser.

On the first occasion, with the second half in its infancy, Visser found fellow wing Tommy Seymour to finish in the corner – 23 minutes later, the Netherlands-born No.11 finished the job himself to give the hosts an unassailable lead, eventually triumphing 29-13.

There were jubilant scenes in Edinburgh as Scotland celebrated a first win over their Welsh rivals since 2007 but Vern Cotter’s side were brought back down to earth with an almighty bump at Twickenham a fortnight later.

Hogg came off injured after 17 minutes and was powerless to prevent a rampant home side running in seven tries to retain the Calcutta Cup in style – and secure the 2017 Championship.


Scotland had just a week to recover from their chastening defeat but were boosted by the full-back’s return for the Round 5 clash with Italy back on home soil.

Hogg thumped over a long-range penalty to give his side an early lead and later set up Matt Scott’s try by leaping highest to tap back Laidlaw’s box-kick and give the centre a routine finish.

The in-form No.15 continued to pull the strings after the break, setting up Visser’s score with a deft chip before supplying the final pass for Seymour to seal the bonus point and a 29-0 win.

It was the first time Scotland had kept an opponent scoreless since 2008 and naturally Hogg played a key role in that, too, with two try-saving tackles in the second half.

Hogg’s performances across the Championship cemented his status as one of the world’s best in his position and he was named in the British & Irish Lions squad which toured New Zealand that summer.

There was a sting in the tail for the Scot, who sustained a broken cheekbone in an accidental collision with teammate Conor Murray against Crusaders and returned home prematurely, missing the chance to play his part in a classic series which ended 1-1.

He will hope to have the chance to make amends in the famous red jersey against South Africa this summer following another consistent Guinness Six Nations campaign – four years on from his most recent Player of the Championship success, Hogg remains Scotland’s talisman.