Hogg hasn't started at ten in his previous 82 appearances for his country

Stuart Hogg starts at fly-half for the first time for Scotland

Stuart Hogg starts at fly-half for the first time in his Scotland career, after regular occupant Finn Russell’s withdrawal through injury. Seven changes to Scotland’s team against Italy on Saturday sees Hogg step into the unfamiliar position.

Injuries during matches has seen Hogg move into the position midway through matches, although he hasn’t started there for Scotland. The most recent position switch mid-game came last weekend against Ireland, after Russell left the field with a brain injury. Fortunately, Hogg is no stranger to the No 10 role, despite the lack of starting experience.

Related: Scotland team to face Italy

In October 2020, Hogg had to play a stint at fly-half against Wales following injuries to Finn Russell and Adam Hastings. Afterwards he said that he “wouldn’t be happy” to play fly-half, although he would if needed. It’s therefore intriguing that Gregor Townsend has selected Hogg in a position he has less of a sure footing in.

However, the Scotland captain has previous in the position for both Scotland midway through games, as well as the British & Irish Lions.

During the 2013 Lions tour, Hogg started at ten for the first time since his formative rugby years. With regulars Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell both rested, then 20-year-old Hogg stepped into fly-half for the Lions’ fourth game against a Combined Queensland-New South Wales Country XV.

A comprehensive 64-0 win followed, with Hogg scoring a try and converting four out of six kicks.

No doubt hoping for another dominant display against Italy on Saturday, Scotland have an opportunity to finish above both France and England in this year’s Six Nations, should results go their way.

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