As he comes to the end of the most frustrating season since he broke into the top flight, Allister Hogg, the back row, knows that over next few months he is going to face a series daunting challenges. He is backing himself not just to overcome them but use them to win back his place in the Scotland team.
The first comes tomorrow when he is a core element in the international sevens team’s attempt to claim some respectability from the wreckage of a disastrous season when they appear at their home World Series event at Murrayfield. The next comes next month in Romania when his leadership and experience will be vital to Scotland A’s attempt to retain the IRB Nations Cup.
These are just the warm-up acts, though. The big challenge will come in the summer when he ends eight years as a one-club man and moves to Newcastle Falcons, where he only knows Alan Tait, the head coach, who was once in charge of the Scotland defence.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” was Hogg’s view of the move. “A different bunch of boys, a different competition, a different set-up. I’m looking forward to playing at grounds I have not played at, against teams I have not played before, in competitions I have not experienced. It is all new. Learning from that experience will make me a better rugby player.”