Rugby: Stuart Hogg admits having 'sore jaw' from smiling since Lions announcement

Stuart Hogg says he feels like a more mature and professional rugby player than he was when he toured Australia with the Lions in 2013. Photo / Getty Images.
Stuart Hogg says he feels like a more mature and professional rugby player than he was when he toured Australia with the Lions in 2013. Photo / Getty Images.

Stuart Hogg is determined to show how far he has come by securing a Test cap on his second British and Irish Lions tour after being named as one of two Scots bound for New Zealand.

The 24-year-old feels he is a far better and more professional player than the young man who joined the Lions on their Australian adventure four years ago but did not feature in any of the three Tests.

Hogg was heavily tipped to make Warren Gatland's squad but he did not take his place for granted and will not rest on his laurels now despite admitting he had a "sore jaw for all of the smiling I've been doing since the announcement".

Speaking at Murrayfield, along with Glasgow team-mate Tommy Seymour, the full-back said: "These are the reasons why we play rugby, this is the ultimate challenge of taking on New Zealand in their own backyard. It's going to be incredibly tough but it's a challenge I'm hugely excited by.

"There is a fair amount of rugby to be played before the Tests and different combinations to be tried and here's hoping we can get a bit of game time.

"The hard work starts for us now. It's not just a case of being happy to be selected, it's now about working hard and aiming for starting jerseys. That's the goal now, I've become a better player since being part of the last Lions tour."

Hogg, who broke the 50-cap mark for Scotland during the RBS 6 Nations, added: 'The level of professionalism goes up another notch. The biggest thing I learned from the last tour is the need to be professional 24/7. I certainly wasn't that going into the last tour but I believe I am now.

"I think I've matured over the last few years and here's hoping I can get a bit of game time."

Although Gatland stated that the Warriors player had the 'X-factor' they needed to take on the All Blacks, Hogg's doubts over his inclusion were partly fuelled by the former Wales head coach talking about his defensive weakness.

"Yeah, I know he did talk about that," Hogg said. "You are never the complete rugby player, are you? Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. And defence is probably the weakest part of my game.

"But it's not one that I shy away from. I know that I need to get better and I've been working hard to get better. I will continue to do so. Everybody has an opinion.

"As soon as I heard Warren Gatland saying it, I was on the training pitch straight away. You just need to knuckle down and I'll try to be the best rugby player I can be."

While Hogg saw the news unfold along with his wife and young family, Seymour shared the moment with several Warriors team-mates.

The 28-year-old winger said: "It's an amazing feeling, a really proud moment for me and my family.

"I was at lunch with Richie Vernon when the news broke. I wasn't watching on my phone or anything. I was just relaxing and Ali Price and Finn (Russell) were in the corner of the coffee shop and they signalled to Richie, who somewhat exploded at the table.

"My phone started going off in parallel with Richie's excitement and Ryan Wilson walked in out the blue and started going mental in the coffee shop.

"I was sitting there feeling half-nauseous, sick, sweating and then Hoggy came and picked me up. It's been a bit of a whirlwind and he whisked me here. It's special."

- Daily Mail

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 29 May 2017 12:45:50 Processing Time: 555ms