Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Ulster Rugby home in on Scottish ace Stuart Hogg

Lions full-back Stuart Hogg
Lions full-back Stuart Hogg

A family link with Northern Ireland football legend George Best may help Ulster land Scotland and 2013 British and Irish Lions full-back Stuart Hogg.

The 21-year-old player is known to be keen on the move and his omission from the Glasgow Warriors squad for Saturday night's PRO12 final against Leinster at the RDS has served only to fuel his determination to leave.

Two years ago Hogg was astounded to discover that he was related to football genius Best, who grew up in the Cregagh estate, close to Ravenhill.

Already Hogg, who will be 22 on June 24, has met with Ulster's director of rugby David Humphreys and coach Mark Anscombe. That meeting took place last month in Belfast.

But if the proposed switch is to proceed, Ulster must first negotiate their way through Hogg's contractual quagmire. There is still a year to run on his contract with the Scottish Rugby Union, his current employers, so they would require compensation before allowing him to go anywhere.

Even then there could be obstacles; several of France's wealthy Top 14 clubs are thought to be interested in securing Hogg's services – as are Mark McCall's Saracens, who will be hoping to pip Northampton Saints to the Aviva Premiership title at Twickenham on Saturday after losing last weekend's Heineken Cup showdown with Toulon.

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