Six Nations: Stuart Hogg apologises for Scotland players' unauthorised night out in Edinburgh
Stuart Hogg has apologised for the disciplinary breach which overshadowed the build-up to Scotland’s final match of the Six Nations Championship against Ireland.
The national captain said he had “held his hands up” over the incident which saw Hogg and five of his team-mates censured over an unauthorised night out in Edinburgh last weekend.
The six players went into town after returning from the match against Italy in Rome last Saturday night/Sunday morning. The news only emerged on Friday, forcing the Scottish Rugby Union to put out a statement saying that the management team had dealt with “a post-match matter”.
The other players involved are understood to be Finn Russell, Ali Price, Sam Johnson, Darcy Graham and Sione Tuipulotu.
Speaking after the 26-5 defeat by Ireland in Dublin, Hogg said: “For us, we held our hands up. We knew we made a mistake. We just got on with making sure we prepared in the best possible way.
“It was a challenging week, but it was one of our best weeks of preparation. We stuck together and got on with our jobs.”
Pressed further on the matter, Hogg added: “I don’t know how many times I need to say it. I apologised and I put my hands up. I’m bitterly disappointed with what happened.
“I was annoyed and frustrated, but I can’t go back and change anything.”
Head coach Gregor Townsend kept faith with five of the players involved in the incident, with only Tuipulotu not selected for Dublin. Russell was dropped to the bench, with the other four starting.
“Obviously what happened on Sunday was disappointing and so is today’s result,” Townsend said. “But in groups, in families, you have these moments where you can choose to come together and learn from it. I believe that’s what the team did throughout the week, with how they trained.
“I believe they fronted up today and I know that rightly you’ll talk about the result - that’s the main thing when you play international rugby. But I saw a performance today that was better than most of our performances this year, particularly the way we started the game.
“Into the second half, what we did wasn’t enough to win the game but I was proud of what the team did.”
Townsend refused to go into detail about the six players breaking team protocols.
“We’ve had a statement already about this,” he said. “It’s a private matter where private discussions have taken place and private decisions have been made within the group.
“Anything on the back of that is just gossip, so we move on from that. There’s nothing really to say more than that. We dealt with it in house and had our best training week of the championship.
“As we mentioned, there was an incident that has been dealt with. The players know the guidelines and as Stuart mentioned there, he apologised to the group. That’s all I’m going to say on it.
“If I went into details, it would be a long story. As I mentioned, things happen in groups. Once you have an incident - I don’t know if that’s too strong a word, but something that happened - I was delighted with the reaction of the group, how we focused on the task in hand.”