Stuart Hogg says a Scotland victory over England will be no surprise as he calls for more respect to be shown

Full-back goes into the Calcutta Cup clash in the form of his life with Scotland eyeing up an end to their Twickenham hurt to challenge for the Six Nations title

Click to follow

Stuart Hogg has laid down the gauntlet to England ahead of the Calcutta Cup clash on Saturday by claiming it will be no surprise if Scotland end their 34-year wait for a victory at Twickenham.

England go into the match as favourites to not only continue their relentless run of form over the Auld Enemy at home, but also to clinch a second successive Grand Slam providing they can also see off Ireland in next weekend’s Six Nations finale.

But while Eddie Jones’s side are not quite firing on all cylinders following three underwhelming yet victorious performances, Scotland are a side on the up. Wins over Wales and Ireland – in the same championship for the first time since their final victorious Five Nations campaign in 1999 – has jettisoned Vern Cotter’s side into title contention, and if they can end Jones’s unbeaten streak on Saturday, they will head into the final weekend with genuine hopes of claiming the spoils.

But that should be of no surprise, given their progress under the New Zealander, and star full-back Hogg – already on course to claim top tryscorer and a possible second consecutive Player of the Championship award – insists they are finally living up to their own expectations.

"We're more than capable of winning and we're going to do everything we can to make that happen,” Hogg said on the eve of the match.

"We talked a lot about our goals before the Six Nations and it's now about making those goals a reality. We're very much in a position to come down here and win - and nothing is going to stand in our way.”

The 24-year-old full-back has flourished under Cotter’s guidance, and he will expect to continue his rapid rise as he is currently firm favourite to take the No 15 jersey for this summer’s British and Irish Lions tour, providing he can hold off Wales’s Leigh Halfpenny.

Cotter will, of course, leave Scotland at the end of the Six Nations campaign, with former fly-half Gregor Townsend already named as his successor, and Hogg was quick to praise the steeliness that Cotter has instilled in the national squad which has helped transform them from also-rans to title contenders.

"We're very much a work in progress, but since Vern came in we've come on leaps and bounds,” he added.

"We're not just going to lie down and get our bellies tickled, we're going to go out and try to get some victories.

"Slowly but surely we're starting to get respect. Do other teams still underestimate us? Yeah, possibly, but that's up to them."

The one issue that could rob Hogg of a Lions starting spot though is his supposed defensive vulnerability when compared to Halfpenny. The Glasgow Warriors back is the first to admit that he expects England to test that notion to the limit on Saturday given the number of kicking options that the hosts will possess in their side – Owen Farrell’s fitness permitting – but he insists that he will not let the criticism detract from his strong points.

stuart-hogg1.jpg
The full-back has put himself in contention for the Lions with his form this season (Getty)

"Defensively I know I'll be challenged," he said. "There will be high balls. George Ford or Owen Farrell or Mike Brown will stick them on me.

"I'm fully aware of what's coming. But it's just about being mature in the situation and dealing with it. I'm sitting here shaking, I just can't wait to get out there to play.

"No-one is the complete player, there are always going to be weaknesses to your game. Yeah, you could say defence is one of mine.

"When things are going well there is always going to be someone to put you down. I'm fully aware that my defence isn't the strongest, but I'll continue to work on it."

Scotland will need the likes of Hogg, Finn Russell and Hamish Jones, three of their most potent weapons in differing areas of the game, to be on the money if they are to halt the England juggernaut under Jones. Do that, and they will head into a final weekend blown wide open with the chance to make history, all at England’s expense.

Comments