Stuart Hogg continues to solidify his legacy as one of Scotland’s best with his second British and Irish Lions call up.
Hogg was one of two Scots selected by Lions boss Warren Gatland on Wednesday, joined by Glasgow Warriors teammate Tommy Seymour, and the former Hawick star was overjoyed to be going on his second successive tour with the Lions.
“These are the reasons why we play rugby, this is the ultimate challenge taking on New Zealand in their own backyard,” said the 24-year-old at Murrayfield Stadium following the announcement of his selection to the June tour of New Zealand.
“It is going to be incredibly tough, but it’s a challenge I am hugely excited about. There is a fair amount of rugby to be played before the Tests and different combinations to be tried, but here’s hoping we [himself and Seymour] can get a bit of game time.
“The hard work starts for us now. It is not just a case of being happy to be selected, it’s now about working hard and aiming for starting jerseys. That’s the goal now.”
Although Hogg was widely considered a lock to head on his second tour with the Lions, the former Hawick standout had a degree of doubt about his seat on the plane to New Zealand after Gatland highlighted his possible defensive weaknesses prior to the Six Nations.
“Yeah, I know he did talk about that,” added Hogg, on the former Welsh head coaches critique of his defensive play.
“You are never the complete player, are you? Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. And defence is probably the weakest part of my game. But it’s not one that I shy away from. I know that I need to get better and I’ve been working hard to get better.
“As soon as I heard Warren Gatland saying it, I was on the training pitch. Trying to be the best rugby player I can be.” Lions squad:
Props: Dan Cole, Tadhg Furlong, Joe Marler, Jack McGrath, Kyle Sinckler, Mako Vunipola. Hookers: Rory Best, Jamie George, Ken Owens. Locks: Iain Henderson, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes. Flankers: Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Justin Tipuric, Sam Warburton. No 8s: Taulupe Faletau, Ross Moriarty, Billy Vunipola. Scrum-halves: Conor Murray, Rhys Webb, Ben Youngs. Fly-halves: Dan Biggar, Jonathan Sexton. Centres: Jonathan Davies, Owen Farrell, Robbie Henshaw, Jonathan Joseph, Jared Payne, Ben Te’o
Wings: Elliot Daly, George North, Jack Nowell, Tommy Seymour, Anthony Watson. Full-backs: Leigh Halfpenny, Stuart Hogg, Liam Williams.
Lions 2017 Match Dates
3rd June 2017 – New Zealand Provincial Barbarians
7th June 2017 – Auckland Blues
10th June 2017 – Canterbury Crusaders
13th June 2017 – Otago Highlanders
17th June 2017 – Maori All Blacks
20th June 2017 – Waikato Chiefs
24th June 2017 – All Blacks (first Test)
27th June 2017 – Wellington Hurricanes
1st July 2017 – All Blacks (second Test)
8th July 2017 – All Blacks (third Test)