Hogg back for much-changed Scotland
Full-back Stuart Hogg was yesterday named in the Scotland side to face Fiji tomorrow, one of nine changes to the starting line-up from last week’s defeat in Cardiff.
Exeter’s uncapped 23-year-old second row Sam Skinner is also a surprise inclusion, while the three non-scotland based players who were unavailable last week – Clermont scrum-half Greig Laidlaw, Racing stand-off Finn Russell and Saracens wing Sean Maitland – all start.
Inside centre Peter Horne, hooker Fraser Brown, lock Grant Gilchrist and No 8 Matt Fagerson also start, with Alex Dunbar moving to outside centre, Ryan Wilson moving to blindside and Jamie Ritchie to openside. Only wing Tommy Seymour and props Allan Dell and WP Nel are unchanged from Cardiff.
Hogg underwent an operation on ankle ligaments on Sept 21 and was expected to be out for 10-12 weeks, but is back just seven weeks later.
Although the Glasgow full-back has not played since sustaining the injury against Munster almost two months ago, Hogg has been impatient to return and Scotland coach Gregor Townsend says he has no issue with putting him straight back into the starting line-up.
“If you’ve got a player where you’ve had experience of someone who has played well after being out with injury before, like Stuart did twice last year, then you’ll play them,” Townsend said.
“Stuart missed a fair chunk at the beginning of the season after the Lions tour, played a game against Leinster in the Champions Cup, where he played very well, and then two weeks later played Test rugby. He then got injured in November, and played the last Champions Cup game for Glasgow against Exeter, and played really well, and then played against Wales two weeks after that.
“But it’s also about how the player is feeling, what the medics are telling you, what you’re seeing with your own eyes – that all gets added to the mix.”