Snakes, Strictly, and getting stuck in a lift with Rita Ora are all on the agenda in our conversation with the Scottish full-back.

Downtime with… Stuart Hogg

Do you have any phobias?

I’ve always hated snakes. When I was young I went to Deep Sea World near Edinburgh and there were snakes there. I was the only one who got to touch them. Even if they’re on the telly, I’ll lift my feet off the ground and get them up on the couch.

Do you have any unusual nicknames?

I get called ‘Whisky Face’. A few of the boys think I look like that face you make when you first take a sip of whisky.

Nickname: Stuart Hogg is known at Whisky Face because he looks like he has taken that first sip of whiskey (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Do you have any bugbears?

People being late and people being unprepared for what they have to do. That p***** me off. I have high standards.

Who are the jokers you know?

Lelia Masaga at Glasgow has taken over from John Barclay for jumping out and scaring me. Finn Russell and Ali Price are jokers too. And I am a bit. I never like to take myself too seriously – I’m very serious about what I do on the training pitch but not off it. I’d say I like to keep people on their toes.

Any pranks you can share with us?

I once taped all of Sean Lamont’s boots together. In fact, the worst one I ever got was from DTH van der Merwe. He would go into my bag and steal my boxers every day and then put them in his freezer. He eventually gave them all back, frozen.

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Rita Ora. I think she’s banging. Oh, and for practical reasons, yeah.

Any hidden talents?

I’m trying to learn to play the ukulele but I’m s****. I’m trying to learn off YouTube.

What do you want to do?

I’d like to stay involved in rugby. When I was injured in the summer I spent some time following Al Kellock around, looking at the business side of things. That was interesting. I’d also like to look at doing a bit of media. I’ve got a face for radio but it would be good to keep my hand in with some TV stuff. My brother Graham and I coach at West of Scotland too. That’s two Hawick lads.


Can the West players understand you?

That’s why we’ve got Bob Harley there! He translates for us. If something’s not going right we blame Bob – something must have been lost in translation!

What’s your most embarrassing moment on a rugby pitch?

In 2012, in the autumn games, we played New Zealand. Dan Carter puts up this cross-field kick and I end up being one-on-one with Julian Savea. He came up, I planted my feet and away he went. He kippered me. It was all made worse by the fact Scotland had on those shocking away jerseys that were white with the big saltire on them. They were hingin’…

Your dream dinner party guests?

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson would be there. I imagine he’d have some stories to tell. George Best –Uncle Georgie – would have to be there. He would have some great stories too. And I’d have Gemma Atkinson. I love watching Emmerdale. Have you never watched the show? The wife always made me watch Strictly Come Dancing when it was on, but it was alright this year because Gemma was on it.

The Rock: Hogg wants Dwayne Johnson to come to his fantasy dinner party (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

I do watch some crap on telly. I actually watched two seasons of Glow, which is Glasgow’s version of Geordie Shore. And how about this for a guilty pleasure: I love Countdown. I’m the king of three- or four-letter words.

If you could be a team-mate for one day, who would you be and why?

I’d definitely be Finn Russell for the day. I’d just like to know what the hell goes on in that head of his. Because I don’t think he knows what’s going on in there most of the time.

This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Rugby World