STUART Hogg believes that Scotland can take confidence from their two big away wins in last year’s Six Nations, but has warned that those feats are no guarantee of success in this year’s Championship.
The captain was part of the team that won in Paris and London for the first time in decades, and also led his side to a comprehensive home victory over Italy. Although such results are a clear indication that Scotland are improving, Hogg still expects two tough battles at BT Murrayfield when England and France visit next month.
“We can look back on those games and see what really worked for us,” the full-back said of last year’s wins on the road at yesterday’s Six Nations launch. “We did the simple things well in both games. Against England we defended well, we kicked well. Against France we showed our attacking side of the game.
“No game is the same. We can look back and take little things from those ones, but is it going to make us win a week on Saturday? Probably not. We have to work incredibly hard to make sure we’re in this game for 80 minutes, and win as many moments as we possibly can from within the game.
“But we can take a little bit of confidence from knowing we can beat the best teams. And we get excited for that challenge.”
Hogg has always been the sort of player to get excited before games, and at times during his early Test career his emotional investment in matches detracted from his leadership qualities. Since becoming captain, however, he has, by his own admission, become a more mature if no less committed member of the team.
“I’ve had to grow up a little bit over the last couple of years, but it [the captaincy] is something I’ve really enjoyed doing,” he added. “The big thing for me is learning about my team-mates – any new boys who come in or players who I haven’t played with for a long time. I love learning about their families, what they do off the field and how you get the best out of them on the training field and in a game.
“We want to be in a position to make memories on and off the field. Every time we come into camp you seem to enjoy it more. It’s no coincidence that results are coming on the back of that.”