Guinness Six Nations

Hogg given the nod as he replaces McInally as captain

Respected: Stuart Hogg (pic: SNS Group)

Gregor Townsend has named Stuart Hogg as his new captain as the Scotland head coach prepares for this year’s Guinness Six Nations Championship.

The 27-year-old, who left Glasgow Warriors to sign for Exeter Chiefs after last year’s World Cup, replaces Edinburgh’s Stuart McInally who skippered the side in Japan.

With 72 caps to his name, it is no surprise that Townsend has turned to his most experienced player as skipper as he unveiled his training squad for the tournament.

“He’s a really intelligent rugby player who’s is learning and improving with every season,” said Townsend. “He’s very good at bringing others into the game and building relationships with those around him.

“Stuart is very passionate about playing for Scotland and he’s determined to do all he can to improve Scotland. He really cares about playing for his country, what the jersey represents and also getting the best out of his team-mates.

“He’s very well respected by our coaching and playing group but that isn’t based on the accolades he’s earned. It’s more about what he does every day at training.

“He really wanted to take on the honour and responsibility of being captain, which was a huge positive and – having heard his plans for how he would work as a captain and work to bring the best out of others, while being able to focus on his own game – meant it became a relatively straightforward decision.”

Hogg has captained his country once before, a defeat to the USA in 2018.

Glasgow trio Tom Gordon, Kyle Steyn and and Ratu Tagive join Edinburgh pair Luke Crosbie and Nick Haining and Gloucester’s Alex Craig, as the uncapped players in the squad for this year’s Six Nations.

Centres Huw Jones and Rory Hutchinson are back having missed out on the World Cup. Edinburgh’s Matt Scott ends a two-and-a-half-year absence with his inclusion while there was also good news for club-mate Rory Sutherland, who has been out of the picture for more than three-and-a-half years after his last appearance.

The Scots begin this year’s campaign away to Ireland on 1 February.

Scotland squad:

Forwards: Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Magnus Bradbury, Fraser Brown, Alex Craig, Luke Crosbie, Scott Cummings, Allan Dell, Cornell du Preez, Zander Fagerson, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Tom Gordon, Nick Haining, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, Ben Toolis, George Turner, Hamish Watson.

Backs: Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Adam Hastings, Stuart Hogg (c), George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Sam Johnson, Huw Jones, Blair Kinghorn, Sean Maitland, Matt Scott, Byron McGuigan, Ali Price, Henry Pyrgos, Finn Russell, Kyle Stern, Ratu Tagive.

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