Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Hogg rues ‘schoolboy error’ as Scotland’s winning run ends

Stuart Hogg
Stuart Hogg - pic © Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

Stuart Hogg held his hands up for the error that cost Scotland the opportunity of snatching a draw against France yesterday (Sunday).

The fullback missed a kick to touch, allowing the visitors to seal a 15-22 victory – their first at BT Murrayfield since 2014.

“I made a schoolboy error, it’s as simple that but look, I thought we played well for 78 minutes of that game,” he said.

“A couple of mistakes didn’t quite go our way and we’re old enough and ugly enough now to realise we’ve made a mistake.

“I don’t need to be told a million times about it.”

Defeat to Fabien Galthie’s side, who avenged their Grand Slam-ending loss in March, saw Scotland’s winning run end at five matches, but Hogg believes their upturn since the Rugby World Cup shows Gregor Townsend’s side are moving in the right direction.

“I was proud of the boys’ efforts,” he told the post-match press conference.

“We fronted up for large portions of that game, forced France into a kicking game and we stayed patient in our kick battle.

“It was all about the team who cracked first that would end up on the wrong end of the result. We switched off for 30 seconds and allowed them to score.

“We know where we’ve gone wrong and we’ll look to make amends.

“We’ve not turned into a bad team overnight. We know where we’re going wrong and we’re excited about our next challenge.”

46 Responses

  1. Hogg made a mistake because he was trying to get it within the 5m line as much further out would have made the chance of a pushover maul quite unlikely against a very well organised and physical french pack. It really shouldn’t be another reason to have him hanged, drawn and quartered.

    It was a disappointing result but not a bad performance. We have little depth and to go close without Russell or Hastings is not bad at all. But we need more threat whilst maintaining our defensive strength as we really got nothing out of midfield all game.

    I don’t know what the answer is but the squad is doing well to improve. We have a bit of an acid test in Dublin – win an it’ll be a very good autumn. Lose and it will be two steps back again.

    1. Not a realistic yardstick, Ireland will start as massive favourites.

      Reckon we can do them but if we don’t it doesn’t mean an Autumn in which we beat Wales and Italy away is bad.


      1. Well I think the only way to show progress is to beat better teams than you.

        Italy is a game we should not be losing any longer, Rome or otherwise. Beating Wales was a good step forward, but if following up with losses at home to France and Ireland in Dublin means we are starting the 6N still hoping to cling onto mid-table, not as potential contenders. We’ve now established ourselves as a competitive side but I think we’re all waiting to take that big step forward. Ireland in Dublin is as good a time as any.

      2. I think if we lose to Ireland as well it will show we have not really made an progress since our first game against them this year, as well as show that the Wales win was an outlier to what we are actually at.

        We did not go up to Wales level, they have come down to ours. This was shown in the fact they only beat Georgia 18-0

      3. Beating Ireland in Dublin will be more than an increment, a definite step forward.

        Its something we haven’t done in a decade…albeit not the 6N but still.

        Wales have indeed receded like AWJs hairline…and Ireland are on the cusp after a decade of Conor and Johnny.

        I dont really care as long as we beat them.

      4. Id say beating Ireland …in Ireland…is definitely a yardstick to measure progress.
        We definitely will not be favorites …and we would need to go up a level from the France performance.
        Losing won’t equate to a poor autumn series but it will show that no significant progress has been made.

      5. Sorry but I think Ireland will take us apart if we are anything like Sunday. Good street wise forwards and clinical backs

    2. Everyone knew what Hogg was trying to do…. however in rugby…that is a very basic skill and play. Like his try ball drop…reckless challenge..etc the past. Brain farts at critical moments in important matches remain a part of his makeup.
      When he was younger there were less athletes in the game and so his line breaks and runs from deep had a significant impact. Now.. almost all players at international level are athletic relative to their position. He doesn’t seem able to get past the defensive structures that are also far more organized.
      Graham, Russell, DVDM, Jones all are better equipped to do that.
      Id be happy to just see him keep things simple and be consistent…he would be more effective in his position. He is our best FB overall but he has his flaws.
      … and we have a better captain in Ritchie. I bet if GT ..could turn the clock he would have made Ritchie captain instead. Having a professional, inspirational and well spoken captain matters….especially when fine margins separate the top teams.

      1. Ruggers : Oh you are a Hogg basher! Stop it now. You should just be putting up and shutting up. Just live in the past not the future. Hogg can walk into any team and they will adapt to suit.

        Actually, I mean none of that and sort of agree with you, but not entirely. What is more, you are a little harsh on the brain farts, he meant well, actually he just wanted to play his part in the restoration of a draw. He just gets frustrated , he trusts himself more than he does others, we all do that sometimes. We do not need him losing confidence , so calm it down, we all make mistakes. We would still have had to score the try and convert it to draw!

        Damn , you are right, that was costly. But why let the past destroy the excitement of tomorrow.We always do it the hard way – Ireland in Dublin , is that where we go next . GT has never beaten them yet , so all to play for.

      2. A Hogg basher??

        Eh.. no I am not. I said he is our best overall FB. I don’t think he is our best player, however.
        Pointing out his flaws , it seems, is a terrible thing to do for some on this site.
        Id bet the majority would agree that Ritchie would be a far better captain. Crikey …even GT said as much in the press…he just thought it was a bit early. I don’t think it was too early.

  2. Without Finn Russell and Huw Jones Scotland lack a cutting edge in the threequarters and as a result play safety first rugby. Another narrow defeat after huge effort. I would rather go back to the days of exciting expansive rugby if the new style is not going to pay dividends.
    Stuart Hogg makes too many silly errors at crucial times!

    1. I would rather we took this team to play expansive rugby, we have a pack that is working, we have never had that in years. Number 8 is a bit of a low point but just look at Zander and Cummings, they are knocking 2 and 3 back every hit. It is our 3/4 rs and we killed off Huw Jones spirit. I would really like to know how that happened ! That drop off is not natural.

  3. Lets beat Ireland in Ireland. It will still be a stretch but they are in some confusion, just not as bad as Wales. The one standout they do have, and I do rate him, is a number 8.

  4. While we may think Ritchie would make a great captain we have no proof, it can only be speculation. Sure Wyn Jones seems to influence the referees decisions sometimes from his position in the pack therefore it could work for us but I wouldn’t want a captain constantly whingeing in the refs ear like him. Hogg has done ok as captain. He knows he is good enough and hasn’t collapsed on taking on the role like some predecessors.
    The problem is still the centres. Harris is powerful and a solid defender but has no step and no passing skills. Bennet and Jones both have a step and pace but are probably not big enough to hold the line in internationals against modern beasts like Vakatawa or Radrada running at them. We need a hybrid player. Duncan Taylor when fit , but when did that ever happen.

    1. Have to agree on the centres. I like both of them as players but they just don’t work as a combination. Having the two of them in the midfield just offers no cutting edge and puts way too much pressure on the likes of Hogg and whoever is playing 10 to be the attacking spark. Johnson has skills but seems to be used purely as a crash option atm and the ball just doesn’t get out to our (very dangerous) wingers quickly or often enough.

      If Hutchinson or Jones could prove their defence is up to scratch, surely that has to be a better solution going forward? Hutch in particular was great at getting the Saints back 3 into space over the last couple of seasons, although does have the more obvious defensive frailties. Would also be great if Stafford Mcdowall could kick on as he looks every bit the kind of future hybrid player you mentioned.

  5. No one will be more disappointed than Stu Hogg over Saturdays performance. He will continue to grow into his role as captain and lead the team. France are playing excellent rugby this season and they only beat us by 7 points, England beat Ireland by considerably more. We have become strong defensively under Steve Tandy but we seem to regress into this mundane and painful to watch kicking game hoping for our opponents to make a mistake. I’m optimistic about the future and believe we can give so much more.

    1. I think Hogg is getting wound up in the captain role. In Wales he wanted to go for a lineout drive just before half time and when the forwards asked for a penalty , he was shaking his head, in a hissy fit. Far too emotional IMO. You need to be visibly calm and decisive to install confidence in the team.

      The kick, well that was an error,everyone makes them, timing was catastrophic, not quite sure what went wrong , Hasting’s can be a bit loose with the boot as well, it is not a given, is it ! No Idea about Weir as he ignored him, mind you , Weir does kick week in week out for the Warriors, continually gets them out of trouble. It is just one of those things, like the drop ball, like running off on his own in the closing seconds against the AB’s. If it came off , he is the man of the century , when it does not , it is just an error of judgement.

      Some have great talent, some have great judgement, sadly they rarely come as a balanced pair. A lot more rugby to go , put it behind us.

  6. If we lose to Ireland I fear this forum will go into meltdown. If we win, then some will claim Ireland are in decline/re-building. My view is that any victory will be a huge step in the right direction and a loss is not necessarily a backward step. I hope Toony goes all out for victory and picks strongest team including Nel, Maitland and JONES in squad. I hope we do not just kick for territory and hope for pens as Ireland are very disciplined. If we are chasing the game then we need some creativity on bench and earlier use of subs. Ireland will be favourites but we can do it but we must be up for the game….no excuses or schoolboy errors!

    1. The Irish were flattered against England. The scoreline bore little relation to the actual game. Farrell is not doing a partic great job with a very uncohesive team and facing Leinster themselves would be a harder game I feel. My Irish mates are very negative about the national team at the moment. It won’t happen but if Duncan Taylor is fit as he was towards the end of the season with Sarries when he was in blistering form he has to be the selection at 13.With Maitland starting as well. Harris and Kinghorn starting immediately reduces the quality of the team I’m afraid.

      1. Cullen and Lancaster are a superior coaching team to Farrell and company. So agree with the Leinster comment.

  7. When Hogg was first made captain i was impressed with the way he spoke in the media but i have to admit i’m getting a bit sick of his cliche go-to phrases. if i hear him say “we back ourselves to…. blah blah blah,” or “We challenge ourselves to blah blah blah on a daily basis,” or ” I made a(another) school boy error”. I think I will scream.

  8. I am looking for test props and a talented young second row for the midweek team. Maybe a winger if Lowe gets injured. Can you help me out lads ?

    1. I can see Gatland picking only Sutherland from the front row – and him only making the midweek team.
      Think Watson may go as a midweek player as well.
      Hogg will get picked but be accidentally injured, just as well he is old and ugly enough to take it.
      I have a feeling Russell may not even go, Gatland will want a particular style that involved Sexton, Biggar or Farrell at 10.
      Harris will go i think, will make a test team bench but not actually get onto the field.

      Duhan and Darcy won’t be picked over Stockdale, Nowell, Watson, Adams and May. This will be due to us not winning away from home in next years six nations along with our now forward oriented style of play.

    2. No I prefer Kebble. He can speak Afrikaans, a handy thing in the pack. No need for all that Border lingo, no one can understand it.

      I favour the welsh as they can speak to each other in code.

    1. Why ? We are just off the back of a 5 game run and have a point to prove after France. GT rested his players for this match.

      1. I feel that with our current selected side, the Irish backs are far superior and will cut through our backs even with improved defence. The Irish forwards are too street wise and will win an arm wrestle with the Scottish pack thus setting up their backs. Just my feeling

  9. I think the Lions coaching team will be confirmed relatively soon – pretty sure it was in December last time around. Gatland is in the UK at the moment and is on the record as saying he would prefer home nations coaches. I think Andy Farrell and Townsend will go as head defence and head attack coaches respectively. Gatland all but ruled out Rob Howley citing his betting scandal. I think this appointment will be key in terms of Scotland players touring. Last time around nobody was at the table to push Scottish players’ cases in the marginal calls.

  10. I don’t really understand why the playoff games couldn’t be played in neutral venues – wait until we have the teams for each one, then assign which of the 4 stadiums will host each game.

    As it stands Ireland, Wales and England all have a massive advantage and are much more likely to end up winning their games.

    France are currently a better team than England, but at Twickenham even without a crowd it is potentially very close.

    Italy could arguably turn Wales over but again, playing in Wales shifts the advantage.

    Ireland and Scotland in my opinion are pretty evenly matched, but we will have to play very well to beat them away.

  11. Hogg just needs to be quietly moved to VC and Ritchie given the reins. But more generally, we won’t beat Ireland unless we sort out our attack. Jones should start, and Graham of course. That will make a difference. If we were the All Blacks ;) we’d be finding ways to release Duhan and Graham, or Jones (if Toonie comes to his senses). But recently we look a tad unimaginative. Against France we played a very defensive game, and all credit to Tandy (defence was a big weakness) but we can’t beat teams unless we score tries. It shouldn’t be one or the other, top teams do both well. A more attacking first half and bring on the Kinghorn’s and Johnson’s in the last 20. Sure, Weir is not the most avant-garde attacker, but he doesn’t need to be the only play maker. Ali Price needs to step up his game, or move over. An attacking scrum half could really help us in the absence of Russell and Hastings, but you need the pace from other players to make something of it.

    1. Hogg – Graham – Jones – Harris – Van Der Merwe – Van Der Valt – Price – Fagerson – Watson – Ritchie – Cummings – Skinner – Fagerson – Brown – Sutherland

      Taylor – Weir – Hidalgo Clyne – Thomson – Gray – Nel – Turner – Kebble

      Sutherland is thought to be in with a chance of returning in time (so I’m sticking him in!)

      Skinner for Gray, just think he deserves an opportunity, wouldn’t say he is better or worse than Gray, offers more go forward and breakdown work.

      Van Der Valt starts, i would rather have Weir closing out the game than Van Der Valt.

      Harris/Jones: In defence, Jones at 12 with Harris covering him at 13.
      In attack, Harris at 12 as a crash ball option (since he lacks the skills for anything else) With Jones giving that cutting edge we need we lack at 13 to unleash our wingers.

  12. Been impressed with Gary Graham in the Newcastle v sale game. In between the kicking tennis, when he has got the ball he has carried hard and has also put in some big hits. A good option at 8 given that nobody seems to be able to step up and make that position their own

  13. yeah GG has started well, I also noticed Lang and Steele were released to the Harlequins game and Hutchinson was back for Northampton. I’m surprised Lang and Steele were released given the lack of players released back to the Scottish pro teams.

    1. My big Falcons mate confirms that Gary G has been in sensational form.
      IMO he’s as effective as all our other options, I had an idea to use Watson as an 8 (like Wales did/do with Navidi) that gives the option of playing Crosbie @ 6

      1. John were you not impressed with how Matt Fagerson performed against a brutal France side?

        Top of dominant tackles and top of metres made in the pack, he offered good work rate and was kept on over Watson.

  14. France vs Italy 15 mins in and more entertaining rugby played than during the whole England vs Wales match.

  15. An object lesson for GT from today’s Georgia vs Ireland match. Georgia had aggressive ball carriers and absolutely no hesitation in chopping down the opposition but lost out due to poorer handling skills.

  16. Another full of passion & effort effort by Glasgow. I think Huw Jones is just class & he secured the game with a lovely interception.
    Again some exasperating mistakes, knock ons & 2 line out loses in good positions.
    Couple of excellent jackals by Gordon, Bryce playing the best rugby of his career, the return of excellent Lee Jones & a lung bursting effort by Ryan Wilson were highlights

    1. Can’t share your joy John – Glasgow just won despite dominating territory, possession, penalty count and Cardiff being utterly hapless. Jones only came on for the last 10 mins, Dobbie left on bench for the whole game, while Bryce, Kennedy, Fergusson & Grigg all get nearly 80 mins game time. The Glasgow team of even last season would have had a 4 try bonus point win wrapped up well before full time.

      1. Just to highlight quality of depth missing from Glasgows starting team yesterday, here is a XV.

        Kebble – Turner – Fagerson – Gray – Cummings – Nakarawa – Brown – Fagerson – Price – Hastings – Seymour – Johnson – Mcdowall – Steyn – Jones

      2. Nile – I think you’ll find Huw Jones played for Glasgow against Cardiff yesterday – came on for the last 20. Or did you mean Lee Jones? Oh hang on, he started. Is there another Jones who is missing?
        Your point is still valid though. A win (away) is nothing to be dismissed. Mac2 is obviously a glass is half-empty kind of guy.

      3. Merlot if you would like to make the effort to read what i said next time.

        Depth missing from Glasgows ‘STARTING’ team as in starting the game. Jones came on with 10-15 minutes to go due to his Scotland Involvement.

  17. Mac2

    Kebble Turner Fagerson R.Gray Nakawara Fagerson Brown
    Price G.Horne Hastings McDowell Steyn Seymour
    And probably a few others I thought the attitude was 1st class.
    Kennedy played very well, no need for Dobie.
    Jones was on last the last 20mins

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion