Stuart Hogg: No better feeling than winning in a Scotland jersey
Stuart Hogg has insisted “there is no better feeling than winning in a Scotland jersey” as the full-back looks to cap a memorable past few weeks by helping his country to a rare victory in Wales on Saturday.
Hogg is back in the Scotland fold for the final match of the disrupted Six Nations campaign, having missed last week’s friendly win over Georgia at Murrayfield because of his commitments to club side Exeter.
It has been a remarkable October for the Chiefs, who bagged a maiden European Rugby Champions Cup crown as well as the Premiership title, but a first Scotland win on Welsh soil since 2002 would give Hogg the most satisfaction.
“At the minute I’m just really, really enjoying where I’m at,” the Scotland captain said.
“At Exeter we’ve been in a very, very good place for a long time, we’ve been performing really well, the weather’s been great and we’ve had a lot of success.
“I’ve been enjoying it and had a smile on my face ever since we got back from lockdown, long may that continue. I’ve enjoyed this week’s prep and I’m very much looking forward to taking on Wales.
“We know it’s going to be a huge challenge but this is the reason you pick up a ball as a kid, you want to be involved in these huge games and we’re excited for it.
“All I want to do is play my best every single opportunity that I get. For me there is no better feeling than winning in a Scotland jersey and I’m going to do everything we possibly can to make sure that happens.”
Scotland’s win over Georgia saw them maintain the momentum gained from back-to-back triumphs over Italy and France before the coronavirus pandemic brought a sudden halt to the Six Nations.
Wales, on the other hand, have lost their last four matches and will be unable to count on the intimidating atmosphere of the Principality Stadium, with the match being held behind closed doors at Parc y Scarlets.
“I’ve played at the Principality a few times and when Wales are on top it’s one of the best atmospheres you can get in world rugby,” Hogg said.
“It’s a real shame we’re not going to have that, but a big focus is on ourselves and making sure we do our job and create our own energy. We’re looking at it as having a bubble with spikes on and nobody’s going to burst it.”
While early rain should have cleared by kick-off, gale force winds have been forecast throughout the day in Llanelli, where Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones becomes Test rugby’s most capped player.
Jones is set for his 149th appearance – 140 for Wales and nine for the British and Irish Lions – and Hogg revealed he holds the veteran lock in the highest esteem.
Indeed, Hogg recalled an incident when the pair shared a room on the Lions tour of Australia seven years ago as a moment which cemented his friendship with the veteran lock.
“I’ve got nothing but respect and admiration for Alun-Wyn,” Hogg said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be on a couple of tours with him.
“In 2013 he couldn’t believe I hadn’t watched ‘the Karate Kid’, so he went out and picked up the DVD and we watched it whilst rooming together.
“It speaks volumes for Welsh rugby that he’s been there a long, long time. You could say he’s been at the forefront of everything that has been successful for Wales so he’ll enjoy this one, but hopefully we can spoil the party.”