Stuart Hogg has admitted he couldn’t keep news of becoming the Lions captain to himself and shared the news with family before the team to face Emirates Lions was announced.
The Scotland captain has been chosen to replace Alun Wyn Jones as the squad’s leader in the first game after the Welshman suffered injury last week that ruled him out of the tour. Connor Murray has been named as the permanent replacement.
Hogg said that he was delighted to be honoured with the responsibility and had to let people know his good news when he found out.
“I spoke to my parents, my brother and my wife earlier in the week and told them the news,” he said. “I couldn’t keep it to myself for that long.”
With plenty of experience leading the Scotland team, Hogg said he wouldn’t be making any adjustments for the star-studded squad he’ll play with in South Africa this weekend.
“The thing for me about being captain is that it doesn’t change anything that you do,” he said. “You go out there and be your own man, be yourself.
“I’ve never been one that’ll stand and scream and shout and boss people around. I like to lead by the way that I perform.
“As I said earlier, I’m very fortunate that within this team there’s a huge amount of experience and some great leaders involved. Guys like Owen Farrell, Finn Russell, Maro Itoje and Jamie George. I just need to go out there and do my job. If there’s something to be said, well I’m a very passionate rugby player.
“I am hugely honoured and excited for this challenge ahead.”
The Scot also revealed that he would seek input from the man he took over from.
“I’ll probably pick up the phone to Alun Wyn over the next few days and pick his brains,” he said. “Obviously I’m bitterly disappointed for him picking up an injury but he’ll still have a massive impact on this tour based on what he’s done in the last few weeks and what he’ll do moving forward.
“It’s just the type of guy he is, an absolute legend of the game, so I’ll definitely be picking his brains, that’s for sure.”
Lions head coach Warren Gatland spelled out the qualities that led him to give Hogg the armband from a group of players with leadership ability.
“You’re looking for players with experience and Stuart’s on his third tour now,” Gatland said. “He’s done a great job with Scotland and he comes from a successful club in Exeter.
“He’s got that experience and leadership skills and he’s very calm. He goes out and delivers from the way he plays and he gives clear and concise messages without rambling on and raving.
“I really like his leadership style and the way he’s been with the team this week.
“There’s a number of other players that were in contention and we have a strong leadership group. We are fortunate that we have a fair number of options that we could go to.
“After losing Alun Wyn the responsibility fell to the leadership group and other players to step up and support each other. They’ve done a great job in doing that. It’s not just Stuart’s experience but everyone’s.”
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