Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has claimed that Stuart Hogg is one of the nation’s best ever players as the full-back prepares to earn his 100th cap on Sunday.
Hogg made his Scotland debut in 2012 and will reach the 100-cap mark against Ireland this weekend, marking him out as a major figure in the sport over the last 11 years.
Townsend said that it was a deserved honour for the player and revealed that the players had watched highlights of Hogg’s best moments in dark blue, underlining his place in the pantheon of Scotland greats.
“It’s very well deserved,” the head coach said. “He’s been one of our best players over the last 10 years but also in the history of Scottish rugby.
“We put a tribute video on for him the other day when we announced the team with some of the tries he’s scored, some of the victories he’s been involved in.
“The creative nature of his game, his durability, his love of the jersey, his love of playing the game has been constant throughout that period.
“Right from 19-20 years old when I first started working with him at Scotland, and then at Glasgow, it blew me away to see his passing with either hand, his kicking ability, his speed. He’s been one of the best rugby players I’ve had the pleasure to work with.
“It’s a great game to win your 100th cap, back at home, with a trophy at stake.
“He’ll lead the team out and I’m sure the crowd will want to show their love for him and their appreciation of what he’s done in that jersey.”
Townsend is now hopeful that Hogg will help to inspire the team against Ireland as the team looks to land a first Triple Crown in 22 years, not to mention landing what would be a major win in pursuit of the Six Nations title.
“This week he’s trained the best he has this season, so he’s responded really well to being named in the team, to having the players behind him and congratulating him on his 100th cap,” said the coach.
“He’s looking in great physical shape. I know he was wanting to play last weekend for Exeter but I messaged him to say ‘look, just take it as a positive that not playing will mean you’re going to be really fresh for what will be a big week for you’.”