Injury lay-off allows Hogg to start thinking about life after rugby

Glasgow Warriors Stuart Hogg and Jonny Gray launch CashBack schools of rugby at Smithycroft Secondary School in Glasgow Image: © Craig Watson Craig Watson, [email protected] 07479748060

STUART HOGG is clearly itching to get back playing rugby after undergoing surgery on his shoulder during the summer. So much so that he found himself in a bit of hot water with the Glasgow Warriors medical team earlier this week for getting overly involved with training.

“I managed to jump into a couple of sessions, obviously wearing the pink bib so that nobody touches me, and it’s not really worked so we’ve decided to take a wee step back. It was my idea to jump in a little bit earlier than various people would have liked, so I’ve apologised for that and nothing happened so I’m very fortunate,” revealed the full-back.

“It was a couple of bits and pieces I wasn’t meant to do but, hey, the physios forgave me in the end, so its all good.”

The 25-year-old is clearly an impatient patient, but he says he has managed to alleviate his sense of frustration by spending some time laying the foundations for life once his playing career comes to an end. He has no intention of hanging up his boots just yet, but knows that the dream cannot go on forever.

“Being injured is a challenge I’ve never really had before and, touch wood, there won’t be many long term injuries in my career, but I’ve seen It as an opportunity to do other things such as learning about the business side of the game with Al Kellock, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing that as well,” he explained.

“I was lucky enough to get across to Bologna and help out with the Macron visit for Glasgow, and I really enjoyed that wee insight into what actually happens behind the scenes. I’ve also sat up in the office a couple of times to see what everyone gets up to there, and I can assure you that it is not just drinking coffee and having a bit of craic – they are working extremely hard.”

“So, there are a couple of little bits and pieces happening off the field which I am enjoying. It’s a good opportunity to do something like that while I’m injured. It is just about getting a wee feel for what I’d like to do in the future.”

Hogg added that he is not hell-bent on wearing a collar and tie once his playing days are over. He has been helping big brother Graham coach at West of Scotland as well, and that is an obvious career path for him.

“There is a good energy and good vibe about the place, and that’s only going to be helped by the win at the weekend. My brother is the head coach – I like to think that I am a wee bit of a head coach as well, but he gets the final say on everything which is a bit annoying. I’m going to try and get down as often as I can, and because I’ve been injured I have been there all the time. They play Hamilton at the weekend and I’ll be at the Ospreys game, but I’ll follow it on Twitter,” he said.

“So, whether it is going to be coaching or the business side of the game, I don’t know – but you can’t prepare too early for the future,” he continued.

“I came straight out of school into the academy and this is my eighth season at Glasgow, so I’ve not really had time to do other things. A lot of the boys do Open University courses, or a bit of work experience, or have a trade behind them when they come into professional rugby, so for me it is about having a little look at what I could potentially do in the future and get a few feelers out there and see what comes of it.”

There is still a few seasons to get through before the day comes when he is no longer a professional baller, and after his minor indiscretion earlier this week he is focussed on keeping his sensible head on as he plots his return to action.

“I’m looking to be back as quickly as I possibly can be, but I’m not going to come back unless I’m 100 per cent,” he said.

“The challenge now is just to get fit and I’m doing everything I can to get back on that pitch. And I know that it’s going to take a lot of hard work and effort once I’m back playing to reclaim that 15 jersey. I thought Jacko [Ruaridh Jackson] played well at the weekend. There’s huge competition for places at the club, and everything which happens at Glasgow Warriors is about working hard and earning the right to play – so that’s what I’m going to do.”

Hogg’s prognosis after surgery was a four to six month lay-off at the end of June, which means he has fighting a race against time to be fit for Scotland’s Autumn Test series, and he was keeping his progress under-wraps yesterday.

“We’re just taking it day by day, trying to hit and pass daily targets. We’ve got a target to get back playing but that will remain in-house in case it doesn’t happen. I’m enjoying my rehab, I’m feeling stronger and fitter, and hopefully its not too far away that I’ll be back playing,” he said.

Stuart Hogg and Jonny Gray were attending a press event at Smithycroft Secondary School in Glasgow, to launch the ‘Cashback Schools of Rugby’ initiative which will see Scottish Rugby direct over £1.3million (raised by the Scottish Government from proceeds of crime) towards 15 secondary schools across the country.

The three-year funding cycle comes from the CashBack for Communities fund which redistributes assets seized from the result of crime for sporting, social and cultural projects.

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About David Barnes 3040 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.