Hogg happy for Russell to return to Scotland helm

Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Scotland v Italy - Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain - March 20, 2021 Scotland's Stuart Hogg converts a try REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland captain Stuart Hogg is more than willing to give up the flyhalf berth for Friday’s Six Nations finale in France despite leading his side from the pivot position to a 52-10 romp over Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday.

Hogg started at No. 10 for Scotland for the first time in the absences of first choice Finn Russell, and his role in an eight-try performance was given a rave review by coach Gregor Townsend.

But Hogg is happy to return to fullback for Friday’s re-arranged match in Paris with Russell available again.

"I’ve no doubt he’ll be back in the 10 jersey next week," said Hogg after the rout of bottom-placed Italy.

"He’s a world-class talent. I was quite happy to step in for a little bit, but we’ll leave it to him to drive us around."

Townsend took the opportunity to experiment with Hogg at halfback while Russell was forced to sit out because of concussion suffered in the game against Ireland.

"For Hoggy to start in a new position and to have to organise the attacking side of it, and to have to defend in the frontline a lot more than he’s been doing lately, was really good," said the coach.

"We scored four tries in the first half and Stuart had a big part to play in that."

Hogg admitted, however, that it was not always easy.

"At times I felt we were very much in control of it, and at times I was uncomfortable because the pace was quick and we lost our structure a fair amount, in the first half especially. And that’s when you have to rein it back in.

"Nobody said it was going to be plain sailing, but I found it really quite challenging at times - but a challenge I really enjoyed. I had a lot of fun out there alongside the rest of the boys and that showed in our performance."

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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