25 Feb Boss Hogg | History in the making
It’s been an eventful five years in the life of Stuart William Hogg. He’s become a British & Irish Lion, a father and the youngest Scotland player to reach 50 caps.
At 24 years and 233 days, he overtook previous record-holder Richie Gray, who made his 50th appearance during Rugby World Cup 2015 aged 26.
Hogg also became the seventh-youngest player in world rugby history to mark a half-century of test appearances when he started in the narrow defeat to France in Paris two weeks ago.
“For our family, the last few years has been an incredible journey,” said John Hogg.
“It was great to be in Wales for Stuart’s first cap and it was really exciting for Margaret and I to be in Paris to see him get his 50th.
“It was the first time we’d been in Paris for an international and we really enjoyed it. To see Stuart get his 50th cap presented to him after the game by the Scottish Rugby President, Rob Flockhart, was really exciting.
“Stuart has worked hard to get to where he is and he is really enjoying his rugby. He loves playing for Glasgow Warriors and he thrives living in Glasgow and that comes out in the way he plays.”
Hogg made his debut for Scotland against Wales in the 2012 RBS 6 Nations when he came on as a substitute for Max Evans in Cardiff. Since then he has become an ever-present in the national squad and has only started matches for his country since.
He has scored 16 tries in his 50 test matches, the first coming against France on his first start two weeks after his debut and the most recent a fortnight ago in Paris that puts him fourth in Scotland’s all-time scorers. He also scored a brace in the opening Championship win against Ireland earlier this month.
But the history making doesn’t stop there.
In 2015 he helped Glasgow Warriors win their first Guinness PRO12 title – the first major silverware of any Scottish side – and was part of the Warriors squad which qualified last month for the quarter-finals in the European Rugby Champions Cup, another first for the Warriors.
Earlier this season Hogg signed a new contract to stay at Glasgow Warriors until May 2019 and as he approaches 100 appearances for his club, the exciting full-back says he’s enjoying his rugby more than ever.
“I’m living the dream just now,” he said.
“The first cap, your dream is to play for Scotland and to have done that was just unbelievable, not just for myself but for my family as well. The dream was always to play for my country and every opportunity you get in a Scotland jersey you have to make the most of it.
“I have always just played the game for fun and if you had told me I would get 50 caps when I was younger I would not have believed you.
“I hope I can inspire kids from Hawick and further afield to play the game and enjoy themselves.”
Following Scotland’s 22-16 defeat to France, the Scots will be looking to get back to winning ways at BT Murrayfield this afternoon and despite having already achieved so much in the game, Hogg remains grounded ahead of facing Wales for the sixth time in his career.
“There is no better feeling than winning in a Scotland jersey”, said Hogg, “We’ll be doing everything we possibly can to get that feeling back.
“Last year I was honoured to be the RBS 6 Nations Player of the Tournament but that is all in the past. I am very much in control of what happens in the future. I just have to go out and do my job, try and bring a bit of leadership to things and try and help the team to get some wins.”
Although Hogg is still among the younger players on the pitch he has developed markedly as a leader off it.
Former Scotland and Glasgow Warriors captain Alastair Kellock explained: “The thing that stands out for me is the impact he has on the rest of the team now.
“He’s a leader on the park even though he’s really young. He’s always been exceptionally talented but eh past few years he’s become so consistent.
“The guy at 19 was a Lion. There was an awful lot coming his way other than just having to play rugby but he developed an ability to deal with that really well. He takes it all in his stride, doesn’t take himself too seriously. It seems to be whatever is thrown at him he deals with and plays well.
“Rugby wise, his future is massive, the great thing about him is he’s always getting better, always developing and working really hard to improve.
“He makes other people around him play better. On and off the field he has the ability to improve people. He’s got a huge future and it’s fantastic for both Glasgow and Scotland that he’s going to be playing his rugby here in Scotland.”
Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter praised Hogg on earning his 50th cap, with the New Zealander highlighting his importance to the team over the past five years.
He said: “It’s a fantastic personal achievement for him, especially at such a young age, which is a good indication of how talented an individual he is and how important he’s been to Scotland teams over the past five years. He’s a very exciting player and, at just 24, he has a huge amount to offer Scotland for many more years to come.”
Head Coach at Glasgow Warriors, Gregor Townsend, is also full of admiration for Hogg. “I saw him as a 16-year-old playing at Gala 7s. There was a buzz around the 16-year-old from Hawick who had a bit of pace and could make it as a rugby player
“A couple of years later, when he was training with Glasgow and I was going through as Scotland Assistant Coach, the thing that stood out were his basic skills. His passing, his kicking and his running lines were excellent.
“He has developed physically, as a rugby player and as a person. He has really matured and has become one of the leaders at Glasgow and at Scotland and he’s getting his rewards. It’s brilliant that he’s 24 and he already has 50 caps.
“Stuart’s energy and passion for the game is there for all to see and he really puts in the hard work to keep him at the top of his game.
“He can create something from almost nothing and is a great guy to have around the dressing room as he is always having a laugh or a joke and keeping the spirits up.”
If the past five years are anything to go by, who knows what this boy from Hawick can achieve over the next half-decade.