Hogg: I won’t try to imitate Finn Russell in 10 jersey

Captain admits his first Scotland start at fly half will be a challenge but one that excites him.

Hogg: I won’t try to imitate Finn Russell in 10 jersey SNS Group

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg has admitted his move to stand-off will take him outside his comfort zone but is confident he can drive the team to victory over Italy.

Hogg makes his first ever start in the number 10 jersey for his country as Finn Russell misses out after suffering a concussion in last weekend’s defeat to Ireland.

The national team skipper has previous started in the role for the British and Irish Lions and Glasgow Warriors as well as filling in at first receiver for spells with Scotland to cover injuries.

Saturday’s Six Nations match at Murrayfield is important for the Scots to break a run of back-to-back defeats.

The face an Italian side that has not won in the championship since 2015.

Hogg said he will not be trying to fill the boots of Russell when he takes the field.

He said: “I am not going to sit here and say I am anything like Finn Russell because nobody in world rugby is the same as Finn Russell! I am not even going to try and be him.

“The big thing for me is I’ve got to try and get all my basics right, get myself into good positions and allow us to go forward with some good momentum.

“It is a good chance for me to get my distribution skills spot-on and make sure we are attacking space.

“I am excited about it, honestly. This week when Gregor [Townsend] said there was an opportunity to be playing 10, I started to get really quite excited about it.

“It is a different challenge and one that’s going to make me uncomfortable at times.

“I feel I am ready for it – I am excited.”

Scotland are still waiting for confirmation that their England-based players will be released to play in next week’s re-arranged match against France in Paris.

As of Friday evening talks were ongoing between the Six Nations and PRL – which owns the English Premiership where Scots stars like Hogg, Jonny Gray and Chris Harris play – in order to allow the players to miss club games to represent their county outside of the officially-sanctioned international match window.

The French capital is also entering a one month Coronavirus lockdown but Scotland scrum coach Pieter de Villiers was confident the game – which was only confirmed on Thursday night – will go ahead.

De Villiers said: “We are surrounded with the regulations and we have confidence that if they say it is on then we are happy to go forth.

“We will be in our bubble, our travelling has been good around the airports and we know what to do.

“We are confident the game will go ahead and all will be as safe as it has been up until now.”

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