STUART HOGG returned from injury against Exeter Chiefs on Saturday and showed Glasgow Warriors and Scotland exactly what they wanted to see ahead of the start of the 2018 Six Nations in two weeks’ time.
The British and Irish Lions full-back was back amongst his club mates for the first time since sustaining a hip injury during the warm-up of Scotland’s Autumn Test match against Australia in late November, and duly put in a masterful performance against the West Country outfit.
“I had some fun, it was good,” said a delighted Hogg, who had taken just one minute to make his mark when he scored his team’s first try, which set his club on route to break their duck in the Champions Cup this year with a 28-21 victory over the Aviva Premiership champions, dumping them out the competition in the process.
“I’ve been frustrated watching and wanted to try and get involved as much as I could,” continued Hogg.
“I just wanted to get out there, it’s been a tough old season to stand back and watch, and work hard in my rehab and such. It’s good to be back, to have some fun with the boys and earn a cracking result.”
“It’s good to be back, it’s not going to be easy all the time to get in the team and always be playing rugby. It’s been a challenging year so far, but it’s good to be back and hopefully now we can just kick on personally and collectively from here.”
For Scotland supporters, who had been summoning up the spiritual through prayer and burning of sage to get the Hawick-native back on the field, Saturday’s performance comes at the perfect moment, ahead of the national side convening this week to start in earnest their preparation for the Six Nations opener in Cardiff on 3rd February.
“I feel good, managed to pull up alright after that game, it’s all about recovery now and getting ready to fire into Scotland training,” added Hogg, who believes victory over a side of Exeter’s quality can only help lift the entire Six Nations squad.
“If everyone is playing well and going [into camp] with confidence it will make it a better six nations,” he reasoned.
“It’s always easier going into camp with a victory. Boys have got smiles on their faces and everyone seemed to enjoy it [Saturday]. It’s all about taking that into camp. So yeah, it’s exciting times with the Six Nations just around the corner.”