Scotland’s record try-scorer and three-time Lions tourist announced his retirement from all rugby. Here are his career highs and lows…
Following the news that Stuart Hogg retires from rugby with immediate effect we’re posting this Life in Pictures features from the June 2023 edition of Rugby World magazine. This is Stuart Hogg’s career in pictures, in his own words…
Toasting victory with Chiefs in 2023
“This is the best part of playing rugby, being able to share a beer with your mates after the game in the changing room. This is after the Champions Cup quarter-final win over Stormers and as you can see we are a really tight-knit squad. All the players not in the 23 come into the changing room, there’s the best part of 60-odd boys and management in total.
“Rob (Baxter) wheeled out the wheelie bin of beers and I thought, as an older head, I’ll start chucking them out with Jack Yeandle. This is the bit that I’ll miss. I won’t miss the nine to five training or how my body feels, but I’ll miss game day and the special feeling of enjoying a victory.”
Stuart Hogg’s career in pictures – surfing in 2013
“This is photo evidence of my first time surfing in Noosa, Australia on the Lions tour. I was on the board for what felt like ten seconds but it was more like half a second, if that, and then I fell straight on my arse, as seen.
“It was a ridiculous time, I really loved that tour. I was in awe of the players and got to play alongside my absolute hero Brian O’Driscoll against the Combined Counties in Newcastle. I was playing fly-half that day with Conor Murray inside, Jamie Roberts at 12 and O’Driscoll at 13. I was in heaven.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll just pass to you and to you…’ I had the responsibility of carrying BIL the lion around as the youngest and it went walkabout a few times, so I downed a few beers for that.”
Hogg on winning the league with Glasgow Warriors in 2015
“I wanted to make sure that season was the best I could possibly have, not to make up for the one prior but to show myself I made the right decision (staying at Glasgow).
“That break right there, I made in the first half and passed inside to Henry Pyrgos and he scored under the sticks and we went 21-0 up (before winning 31-13 in the Pro12 final against Munster).
“That was a quality day. We had targeted being the first Scottish team to win a title for a few years and that was the first time I’d won a major trophy in pro rugby and it was absolutely incredible. We worked really hard all season to achieve that and to then do it was the best feeling I’ve ever had.”
Hogg on injury on the Lions tour of 2017
“That was an absolute killer. I was playing some of the best rugby I’d ever played and to get that fracture on the inside of my eye (after colliding with Conor Murray’s elbow v Crusaders) was devastating. It took me a good 18 months to two years to get over it.
“All I did was work hard to try and get back to where I wanted to be but I had injury after injury. I had my shoulder reconstructed after the tour, my eye socket was smashed up to bits and then when I came back fit, I popped my other shoulder and did my ankle. That was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to take in my rugby career.
“One of the three specialists I saw said they could plate it and I might be back in a couple of weeks, but I didn’t fancy risking my eyesight, as much as it killed me to come back home early.”
Stuart Hogg’s career highs with Scotland, 2016
“This score against Ireland is one of my favourite tries in my career. I caught Conor Murray’s box kick and decided to take off and picked out Rory Best and Mike Ross in the defensive line. Tommy Seymour ran a line to take Best’s eye away from me and I just ran as fast I could to score.
“I loved that game and that season, and you could see that in my performances. I honestly believe 2016 and 2017 were my best years for club and country.
“I just had zero fear and backed my ability. Being the first Scotsman to win the Six Nations Player of the Championship award was pretty special. I think my mum is still paying off her phone bill now!”
Stuart Hogg on captaining his country, 2020
“The first two games as Scotland captain didn’t go well personally but then I scored against Gloucester the week before this game against Italy and that brought my confidence back.
“I scored a belter in this one too, but we only won 17-0 just before Covid. I really wanted to make a difference with the captaincy. It just felt after the World Cup that there was something missing. But we were all leaders in our own way, the only difference was I had ‘captain’ written next to my name.
“I had a great group around me. I’m a very passionate Scotsman, so to have the opportunity to be captain of Scotland was quality.”
Hogg on reaching 100 Scotland caps, 2023
“The best moment ever. I knew going into the Six Nations if I was fit and got everything right that my 100th cap would be at home against Ireland. It was just a quality day and the best feeling to share with my wife and kids.
“My eldest Archie brought the ball on and was like, ‘Daddy, so if you’ve got 100 caps for Scotland, does that mean I’ve got one cap now?’ He got recognised after and said, ‘Dad, am I famous?’
“I’m going to get that photo on a big canvas in the house. On the day it didn’t go our way as we got beaten and I snapped my ankle ligaments, but you can’t have the fairytale ending all the time.”
Stuart Hogg’s career in pictures – starting out 2010
“This is quality, I’ve not seen that photo in forever! I moved to Glasgow before my 18th birthday and it was my first taste of pro rugby. I remember getting the photo taken in June in pre-season and I was thinking, ‘Why the hell am I getting a profile photo with a Glasgow top on because there’s not a hope in hell I’m going to be playing this season’.
“I had two games for Glasgow before I popped my shoulder but it was also my first year back at my home-town club Hawick and I absolutely loved it. What a jersey that is, too. I’ll have to get in touch with the kitman to try and get it.”
Hogg on that drink with Finn Russell in 2020
“This was the first time I’d ever played against Finn (Russell) and I was incredibly nervous because he’s a world-class talent. He knows my strengths and my weaknesses and was trying to pick on me the whole time.
“I ran and grabbed a couple of beers after the game but the best thing about this photo is Jonny Gray was standing just outside the camera frame and he’s like, ‘Why am I not in it?!’
“Finn’s a great bloke. I gave him a big hug before I celebrated with my (Exeter) team-mates (after winning the Champions Cup) because I knew how devastated he was. You smash hell out of each other for 80 minutes and then you’re best mates off the pitch.”
On playing in the Commonwealth Games, 2014
“It was a weird season because I got red carded in the Six Nations and tried to leave Glasgow to go to Ulster and it all went Pete Tong. I went about it in the wrong way as I pretty much refused to play for Glasgow.
“We went on tour that summer and (then Scotland coach) Scott Johnson asked me if I wanted to go to the Commonwealth Games.
“Straightaway I had a newfound respect for sevens players. I didn’t get a huge amount of game time but I loved the experience and it got my love for Glasgow back.”
This feature of Stuart Hogg’s career in pictures first appeared in the June 2023 edition of Rugby World
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