Borders Lions Stuart Hogg and Rory Sutherland tell of pride at seeing red
The two Borderers in this year’s British and Irish Lions squad, Stuart Hogg and Rory Sutherland, have told of their pride at being picked for the multinational team’s tour of South Africa.
The Hawick pair are among eight Scots in head coach Warren Gatland’s 37-man squad and they say they’re both delighted to get the chance to line up among the home nations’ top rugby talent.
It’s Scotland captain Hogg’s third Lions call-up, after taking part in 2013’s tour of Australia and 2017’s trip to New Zealand, but it’s uncharted territory for Sutherland, 28.
It’s the second Lions tour running to feature two Borderers as Hogg, also 28, was accompanied by Jed-Forest legend Greig Laidlaw in 2017. Exeter Chiefs star Hogg was forced to pull out before the test matches started after getting injured in a provincial game, however.
Altogether, he’s made seven appearance for the Lions, five in 2013 and two four years later, to add to his 85 Scottish caps.
Sutherland, capped 16 times for Scotland, is the 13th ex-Green to wear the red of the Lions, following in the footsteps of – besides Hogg – Bob Burnet, Willie Burnet, Doug Davies, Colin Deans, Derrick Grant, Alex Laing, Hugh McLeod, Jim Renwick, Tony Stanger, Alan Tomes and Willie Welsh.
Hogg, at the Devon club since 2019 after nine years with Glasgow Warriors, said: “It feels amazing. I’m over the moon.
“If I’m honest, I think I have played some of my best rugby this past year, and since coming to the Chiefs, it feels like I’ve had a new lease of life.
“For me, it’s been an unbelievable year and a half and to win the Premiership and Europe in my first season. I know it’s all about timing, but it’s been an absolute pleasure to be part of it all.”
He’s also looking forward to staking a claim for a first test start eight years on from his inaugural Lions call-up, he says.
“I haven’t said it until now, but I really struggled after the last tour,” he recalled.
“I felt going into that tour I was playing my best rugby up until that point that I had ever done, but then to have that snatched away through injury, it took me some time to get over.
“Now, being selected again, this tour means everything to me.
“It’s been a big job to get back to this stage again, but it’s all I’ve wanted for the last four years.
“Getting the news that I’ll be on tour again, it’s fantastic.
“My phone has been non-stop since the announcement and I had a great catch-up with my parents and my brother on FaceTime.
“Being that bit older now, seeing their reaction really does put into perspective how much it means to all of us.
“I look at it all in a different light, especially when you realise how much my family have sacrificed for me to get to this point.
“It really makes you appreciate what they have done and now I want to make them proud.”
Sutherland, at Edinburgh since 2014, is equally elated to be seeing red, saying: “I’m absolutely over the moon and can’t wait to get stuck in.
“I’d seen it being talked about a lot in the media, which is nice, but to hear it finally being announced is amazing, pretty overwhelming.
“I’m obviously delighted. I’m really, really looking forward to going and being part of a squad with Hoggy.
“It’s a huge jersey to fill, but to go in and be part of such an elite group of players is going to be something really special.”
Hogg and Sutherland’s national team boss, fellow Borderer Gregor Townsend, will also be there, the former Gala star having been recruited by Gatland as part of his coaching team.
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