Stuart Hogg declares himself fit for Scotland's clash with Argentina
Stuart Hogg insists he is fine and good to go against Argentina this Saturday after his injury scare in Saturday's 26-20 loss to South Africa at BT Murrayfield.
The star full-back limped off in the second half of the match and looked unhappy on the sidelines, sparking fears that he may have aggravated the ankle he had surgery on earlier in the season.
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend appeared relaxed about the situation after the game and Hogg appeared before the media yesterday to declare it was panic over.
“I just rolled my bad ankle, got it caught in a tackle. It was a little bit achy but nothing I haven’t had before,” he said. “I tried to hide for a while but then they kicked it straight to me!
“It feels grand today and I’m just ready to crack on with a new week. I woke up this morning feeling much better than I did yesterday. I got the recovery done and I’m looking ahead to Saturday.”
Hogg was looking happy and relaxed yesterday, in stark contrast to the weekend after he had been substituted.
“I felt more dejected to come off, if I’m being honest,” he said. “Doc [James] Robson and [coach] Gregor [Townsend] made the call and I respect their decision.
“The game was just starting to open up a little but so it is frustrating that these things happen, but it is just part and parcel of playing rugby that you pick up these little niggles every now and then.
“It is frustrating to come off but the boys gave everything and unfortunately just came up short.”
The ever-enthusiastic Hogg is never happy kicking his heels, but said that it wasn’t as much the case these days that he needs to be protected from himself sometimes.
“The problem was that last season I was injured for seven out of ten months, and I just want to be playing rugby at every single opportunity,” he explained.
“The beauty of the last couple of years is that I’ve learned a hell of a lot about my body and it has come to the situation now that I do realise what has to be done. I’m not as young as I used to be.
“I used to be able to go out and ping drop-goals in the warm-up for fun, but nowadays I’d probably pull my hamstring off the bone – so it is about looking after the body and making sure I am in the best possible place to train well and play well.”
Saturday’s knock was on the same ankle he had operated on in September, which prompted a higher level of caution from the coaching and medical teams.
“It’s just an unfortunate thing that it got caught in a tackle with big buggers lying on top of me,” said Hogg with a smile. “These things happen, and I think if that hadn’t happened I would have potentially played 80 minutes.”
Hogg, who will leave Glasgow to join Exeter Chiefs next season, was initially expected to miss this autumn series, which ends with Saturday’s visit of the Pumas, but came back five weeks ahead of schedule to play 80 minutes against Fiji.
“You always give the longer scenario, so people aren’t asking questions if you don’t hit that timeline,” he said. “So we had a timeline in mind and thankfully we managed to reach the target.
“There was a lot of hard work done along the way – some gruelling times – some tough times during the rehab, and its only seven weeks and two days post surgery that I played.
“It was frustrating to get injured again after last season, but I feel fresh and ready to get wired into this week again.”