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Hogg: No backwards steps

Two years on from training with New Zealand, Stuart Hogg will face the fabled All Blacks on Sunday in the EMC Test at Murrayfield.

The 20-year-old Glasgow Warriors full-back was invited to train with the team which went on to become world champions on their most recent trip to Edinburgh, which included a 49-3 defeat of Scotland in November 2010.

"It was ridiculous," Hogg told Press Association Sport. "I just remember rocking up in the morning and seeing the likes of Dan Carter, Sonny Bill Williams, Richie was unbelievable. It was great to have the experience of training with them. I had to take a backward step and pinch myself thinking 'Am I really here?'"

The experience was a memorable one for Hogg, who recognises he can no longer idolise players who are now his opponents.

"I will not be taking a backward step this time round," he said. "It's going to be a tough ask for us to go out and win but we'll do all we can.

"We're underdogs, with them being world champions, but maybe we can have that on our side."

Hogg was one of the few bright sparks in a miserable 2011-12 season for Scotland which featured a pool stage exit from the World Cup and the wooden spoon in the RBS 6 Nations, but finished on a high with wins in Australia, Fiji and Samoa. He is seeking to improve on his maiden international campaign and has been working hard on his game.

Hogg, who made his debut aged 19 during the 2012 Six Nations, has added six kilograms in bulk to his frame while retaining his renowned speed.

He added: "I've been looking at the likes of Israel Dagg and (Ireland's) Rob Kearney and looking at what they do, adding little bits of their game to my game."

Dagg's ability is summed up on the All Blacks website in his profile, which reads: "Able to score from anywhere on the park, Dagg has an unerring eye for the tryline and all the speed to get there."


From Belfast Telegraph