Stuart Hogg is set to bolster Scotland’s attacking options for Sunday’s 6 Nations opener against Ireland after being given the nod for the starting XV, and the former Greens full-back hopes Scotland can “start as they mean to go on” and record back-to-back wins over the Irish.
Hogg returns to the starting XV after having missed the autumn tests through injury, with Sean Maitland moving to the wing to accommodate the British and Irish Lion.
Hogg, who has become one of the sharpest open-field runners in European rugby, spoke to the Hawick News this week, saying: “Ireland will be a massive challenge, they are a great side and world class team who will put up a tough fight.
“It is not going to be easy but if we can put in a solid 80-minute performance then it is going to be anyone’s game.
“We are going into the match to win and will do everything we can to try and earn it, we know as a unit that only our best will do.”
Scotland surprised many last year by finishing in third place above France and Ireland, and Hogg feels with games at home against England and France, they could claim some big results and cause teams real problems.
He said: “In training we have been gelling well and looking sharp.
“We have some great matches at home this year and If we can manage to get a couple of good early wins in the 6 Nations, we can start to think about making a real push for the title.
“Winning a 6 Nations is hard and it is always difficult to come back from an early loss in the tournament.
“With England next week, we need to start as we mean to go on and look to earn the win over Ireland first.
“Years gone by have seen us finish down at the bottom end of the table and to have the bookmakers have Italy and ourselves as the wooden spoon favourites, it is very annoying and something we always try to move away from.”
Hogg added: “We want to be the best, we want to win 6 Nations tournaments and to do that we have to beat the best.
“With the World Cup coming up soon, we want the squad to come together this year and start to build those relationships that can help us in close games.”