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I’ll tap into Jones’ knowledge of being Lions skipper: Hogg


Stuart Hogg with Warren Gatland. Credit: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Stuart Hogg with Warren Gatland. Credit: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Stuart Hogg with Warren Gatland. Credit: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Stuart Hogg will seek advice from Alun Wyn Jones ahead of tomorrow’s clash with the Sigma Lions after being named British and Irish Lions captain for the first fixture on South African soil.

Jones was ruled out of the tour with a dislocated shoulder and while Conor Murray has been appointed as his permanent replacement, it is Hogg who leads the Lions into their Johannesburg opener.

A rollercoaster end to the club season saw Hogg demoted to the bench in the closing stages of Exeter’s Gallagher Premiership title push, but the Scotland skipper is now thrust into the Lions starting XV at the earliest opportunity.

And having been placed in command as the tourists look to build on their 28-10 victory over Japan at Murrayfield, Hogg has revealed the influence that Jones still wields over Warren Gatland’s squad.

“I’ll probably pick up the phone to Alun Wyn over the next couple of days and pick his brain,” Hogg said.

“Obviously I was bitterly disappointed for him picking up an injury, but he’ll have a huge impact on this tour in terms of what he’s done over the last few weeks and what he’ll do moving forwards.

“He’s an absolute legend of the game so I’ll definitely be picking his brain, that’s for sure.”

Hogg has beaten the likes of Owen Farrell, England’s leadership talisman, and Maro Itoje to the captaincy for the Emirates Airline Park showdown after Gatland was won over by his calmness, adding that “he delivers clear and concise messages without rambling on and raving”.

But it is to the Red Rose that the 29-year-old full-back looks when he reflects on the past Lions captain that he admires most.

“After watching the 1997 Lions video about a million times and being able to quote about 90% of it, I’d probably say Martin Johnson. I absolutely loved it,” Hogg said. “The thing for me about being captain is that it doesn’t change anything you do. You go out there and be yourself. I’ve never been one to scream and shout and boss people around, I like to lead by the way I perform.”

Hogg is one of five Scotsmen in the starting XV with Finn Russell, the box office Racing 92 fly-half, also making his first appearance of the tour.

Ulster’s Iain Henderson is on the bench following his involvement against Japan last week.

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