Ireland v Scotland reaction: ‘I’m sorry for schoolboy error,’ says Stuart Hogg

Full-back dropped the ball over the line at a crucial moment during his team's Six Nations opening weekend defeat in Dublin

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg attempts to regather the ball as he crosses the line. Image: FOTOSPORT / DAVID GIBSON
Scotland captain Stuart Hogg attempts to regather the ball as he crosses the line. Image: FOTOSPORT / DAVID GIBSON

SCOTLAND captain Stuart Hogg has apologised to his team-mates for losing control of the ball in the act of touching down for a try which would have swung this evening’s tense Six Nations opening weekend clash against Ireland back in his team’s favour at a crucial moment in the match.

“It was just a schoolboy error,” said the full-back, when asked about his blunder which occurred after 10 minutes of the second half, while Scotland were trailing 13-6 but were in the ascendancy. “I’m gutted with how that happened, but I can’t change it now. I just need to get on with it.

“We got ourselves into a good position after the forwards did some good work, so I’m bitterly disappointed I couldn’t finish it off. I apologised to the boys. What will be will be and we have to move on.”


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As the newly installed captain, Hogg knows he has a responsibility to look at the bigger picture rather than wallow in self-pity. “I’m incredibly proud of the team,” he said. “We came across here with a huge task on our hands and we fronted up. Our defence stood firm which is something we’ve worked incredibly hard on over the last couple of weeks.

“The last couple of weeks we’ve spoken a lot about expressing ourselves and having some fun. The boys played with a lot of confidence and ambition, which I loved. We didn’t seem flustered at all. We knew Ireland would be physical and they proved that, but our forwards stood firm and took the game to them.”

It was certainly an encouraging performance, especially in the context of the team’s recent morale-busting World Cup flop and the loss of stand-off Finn Russell – but Hogg recognised that it wasn’t a complete performance.

“We talk a lot about our conversion rate in attack and making sure when we get into the 22 we’re coming away with points, but unfortunately we came up short there,” he reflected. “We got into some good situations and should have finished them off. But we’ve got to give credit to Ireland’s defence. They made it a nightmare for us at the breakdown and stood firm in those last few phases of the game.

“We’re bitterly disappointed not to have come away with a result, but we feel we’re in a good place and it’s now about kicking on and learning from today come next Saturday.”

Another area for improvement ahead of taking on England at Murrayfield next week will have to be discipline, with Scotland conceding 15 penalties in total, including three really soft ones within kicking range which allowed Jonny Sexton to keep the the scoreboard ticking over for the home team.

“We just can’t afford to give away soft penalties, whether it’s running across someone’s line when they are chasing kicks or not getting out of the breakdown quick enough and the scrum-half passing to you, because that takes the pressure off the opposition and puts the pressure on you,” lamented head coach Gregor Townsend. “To give away 15 penalties is too many if you want to win a Test match in a venue where Ireland have only lost once in the last five years.

Townsend did, however, express frustration that his team did not seem to get the benefit of the doubt from referee Mathieu Raynal, especially at the breakdown where Ireland won several turnover or penalties at key moments.

“I think several times it was definitely around our speed to contact and our ball-carrier needing to do more work on the ground, but also having looked straight away at a couple of incidents I thought we were unlucky with players in green jerseys having hands on the ground, not supporting their own bodyweight and ripping the ball as players went to their knees.

“So, we just didn’t get the luck at the breakdown, but also credit to Ireland for being fast in there and disrupting our ball close to the try-line. I’m really frustrated with the one at the end of the game [as Scotland pushed for a late try which would have secured a draw] because I was watching phase after phase and it didn’t look like many players behind the try-line, which at that point was the offside line.

“We just didn’t get the luck at the breakdown, but also credit to Ireland for being fast in there and disrupting our ball close to the try-line.  But we have to be better than the decisions we are maybe not getting on the field, and we have to take those opportunities when we were in their 22 and even five metres from their line.”


Ireland v Scotland: courageous visitors left frustrated by own mistakes

About David Barnes 2917 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.

3 Comments

  1. I feel Scotland, of all the 6 nations teams, are the poorest at securing their own ball at the breakdown. They are not supporting the ball carrier well enough and do not clear out the opposition with enough physicality to protect the ball at the tackle.This area of the game needs to improve dramatically or we will continue to be turned over too often. Poor positional kicking from Price and Hastings was frustrating to watch after several phases of play. need to be more patient and not kick ball to opposition in these circumstances.

  2. Uncle Bobo was livid about Hoggy’s brain fart moment
    He never did that when playing for Quinn’s 3rds .

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