24 Jan Hogg buoyed by growing strength in depth
Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg says the growing strength in depth and competition for places in the squad stands the national team in good stead for the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations.
Hogg believes the fact that 32 of the 36-man group are set to feature in the knockout rounds of European Cup competition – including centre Huw Jones, who doesn’t play in the competition – is a sign of the progress being made by the country’s two professional sides, and those plying their trade in England and France.
Speaking during the lunch break of the players’ first day back in camp, he said: “I’m not going to lie, there were times in years gone by when we were scared about what was going to happen.
“But now we’re confident about getting the job done. We believe we have the playing staff, the structures and the coaching staff to get us victories.”
Scotland open their RBS 6 Nations campaign at home against 2015 champions, Ireland, who enjoyed an impressive autumn series with wins over the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies. That in itself makes it easy to focus on the here and now.
“We will concentrate on Ireland first and then after that we will look at the next opposition,” said Hogg.
“We play a different way with Scotland than we do with Glasgow but here’s hoping we can build up a good bit of form.
“The structure we try to play is very much to dominate up front and release the backs out wide. The more space we get the better.
“Ireland kick the ball a fair amount so if we can defuse their kicking game there will be good counter-attacking opportunities.
“There is no better feeling than winning in a Scotland jersey. We’ll be doing everything we possibly can to get that feeling back.”