Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg claims that the side have turned their heads and are now targeting 6 Nations glory following their record 34-10 victory over Italy, with Hogg himself getting on the score-sheet for the second week in a row.
After their crushing 38-18 defeat at the hands of England, Scotland left Twickenham favourites for a second consecutive wooden spoon with their rivals Italy claiming a shock victory over France. With the head-to-head 6 Nations record between Scotland and the Italians standing at 7-6 just in the Celts favour, Italy were being tipped for another upset as they continue to improve under the captaincy of national hero Sergio Parisse.
However, the Scots finally delivered a scoreline that reflects their attacking promise, running in four tries for the first time in a decade, and all from a back-line that is starting to click. Though some will argue it took a Kiwi and a Dutch native to get that line firing, Hogg – who hails from the Border region of Hawick – feels they are finally in a position to challenge for silverware.
“We are not here to make up the numbers,” said Hogg. “We are here to win, to win games and hopefully win a championship. The table looks really tasty now. We are right in the mix and hopefully we can kick on.”
“All credit to the boys up front and our defence, I thought it was outstanding. We were a lot of points up on the board but the Italians just kept coming at us and coming at us and coming at us. We didn’t sit off them.”
Hogg is part of a young, developing Scottish side that under the guidance of former Wales attack coach Scott Johnson is starting to look like a team that can get back to the glory days Murrayfield once saw. Along with Tim Visser and Sean Maitland, their current back three has less than a year’s international experience, but it is already one of the most threatening that Scotland have fielded in a long, long time.
The key though is providing quick ball for the three to attack with, an aspect that Johnson identified and had the team working on in the build-up to Saturday’s game, which Hogg acknowledges led to the victory. “The previous week, we struggled in the tackle area and that knackered up our ball at times,” continued the Glasgow back. “But we worked hard on that and that really paid off. We got outstanding ball at times and really knackered up their attack as well at the breakdown.”