Borderer Stuart Hogg tells of joy at becoming Scotland’s all-time top try-scorer
Scotland rugby captain Stuart Hogg has told of his joy at becoming the national team's all-time top try-scorer.
The Borderer broke that record during the Scots’ 29-20 victory over Japan at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium yesterday, November 20.
The 29-year-old was so pleased at that achievement that he punched his fist into the air in celebration before he’d even touched down for his record-breaking 25th try and had to be reminded to complete that formality by his team-mates.
Yesterday’s 28th-minute try took him past fellow ex-Hawick player Tony Stanger and Ian Smith, the two players he’d been level with on 24 tries after scoring twice against South Africa a week previously.
The full-back said: “I loved it, but then I was told by Ali Price and Hamish Watson to put the ball down before celebrating.
“I think you can see by my reaction how much it meant to me.
“The main thing, though, is we got a good win."
Head coach Gregor Townsend’s side’s victory, their third in four games this autumn test series, was secured by a 79th-minute penalty by Finn Russell.
Hogg added: “The performance wasn’t far from where we need to be. At times we were spot on.
“The first period defensively we were absolutely outstanding. There were little bits we let slip.
“We’ve managed to win three out of four test matches in the autumn and the exciting thing for me is that we’re not quite satisfied with everything that happened.
“It was our last opportunity together for a couple of months so we wanted to put in a performance we were proud of, and at times we were very clinical and we were good defensively.
“We’re yet to find that complete 80-minute performance, but I think part of that was because we were put under a lot of pressure by Japan, who managed to hold on to the ball for large periods of the game.”
Former Gala and Border Reivers star Townsend congratulated Hogg on breaking another record a week after becoming the most-capped international full-back ever, saying: “What a brilliant moment for him.
“He didn't have to wait long after equalling it last week.
“I read a nice article in the programme from Tony Stanger, who shared that record that had lasted almost 100 years, so it’s brilliant that our captain was able to break that today.”
Reviewing the match, Townsend said he was pleased with the way his side had bounced back from their 28-21 defeat by Japan at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
“It was a real test match. Japan showed the level of play we saw from them in 2019,” he said.
“They are an ambitious and accurate team and they’re the only team I can think of in world rugby who keep the ball in their own half and go through the phases.
“I’ve got to commend our defensive effort. We had to come through adversity too, with penalties against us and the yellow card for Jamie Bhatti.
“I felt our contact work in attack was the best it’s been in the whole campaign and that was something we were focused on improving, so that was pleasing.”
Hogg was one of two Borderers in Scotland’s starting XV, fellow ex-Hawick player Darcy Graham being the other.
Hogg is now on 88 caps, making him Scotland’s fourth most-capped player ever, and Graham is on 22.
Graham, 24, was also among Scotland’s try-scorers yesterday, touching down on 40 minutes. The hosts’ other tries were scored by Duhan van der Merwe and Stuart McInally.