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Stuart Hogg relishing challenge as Scotland head into the Cardiff cauldron

The Scotland captain regards the Principality Stadium as his favourite venue away from Murrayfield.

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Stuart Hogg is relishing Scotland’s trip to Cardiff (Steve Welsh/PA)

Stuart Hogg is relishing Scotland’s trip to Cardiff (Steve Welsh/PA)

Stuart Hogg is relishing Scotland’s trip to Cardiff (Steve Welsh/PA)

Stuart Hogg has described the Principality Stadium as his favourite rugby venue outside BT Murrayfield as he prepares to lead his Scotland colleagues into a Cardiff cauldron.

The Scots are buoyed by memories of long-awaited victories away to both England and France in last year’s Six Nations as they go in search of their first triumph in the Welsh capital since 2002 this Saturday.

Captain Hogg, who has friends and family members making the journey from his home town of Hawick, is relishing the latest instalment of one of his most eagerly-anticipated fixtures.

We're going to one of the most hostile venues in world rugbyStuart Hogg on the Principality Stadium

“This will be completely different to our trips to Twickenham and Stade de France,” he said. “I say that because we went to those two venues last year with nobody watching.

“We’re going to one of the most hostile venues in world rugby, a venue I’ve told the boys this week that ‘if you haven’t been fortunate enough to play here yet, you’re going to get your eyes opened’.

“It’s one hell of an atmosphere. It’s a great place to play rugby. The Welsh absolutely love supporting their team. It’s a quality venue, absolutely incredible.

“For me personally, outside of BT Murrayfield, it’s the best place to play rugby. I made my debut here a long time ago and every time I get the opportunity to come down to Wales, I love the whole weekend.

“A hell of a lot of Scottish people come down, I know personally there are about four or five busloads and a huge amount of cars making their way down from Hawick. It’s a very special weekend that everybody looks forward to.

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Scotland’s Stuart Hogg celebrates with the Calcutta Cup after beating England in last week’s Six Nations opener at Murrayfield.

Scotland’s Stuart Hogg celebrates with the Calcutta Cup after beating England in last week’s Six Nations opener at Murrayfield.

PA

Scotland’s Stuart Hogg celebrates with the Calcutta Cup after beating England in last week’s Six Nations opener at Murrayfield.

“Wales v Scotland is a huge fixture. For me to get the opportunity to represent Scotland in one of the world’s best stadiums is quality. But we’re here to do a job and that’s the sole focus.”

The two sides had contrasting fortunes on the first weekend of the tournament as Scotland began with a narrow home victory over England and Wales were well beaten in Dublin. Nevertheless, Hogg is expecting a formidable challenge.

“They’re a fantastic side,” he said. “Last week they probably didn’t get a chance to show what they’re all about and they’ll be hurting after that. But they’ve got an incredible squad, they’re playing at home and their record here speaks volumes.

“We’ve prepared well and we feel we’re in a good place but it counts for nothing unless we give a true reflection of ourselves.

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“The biggest thing for us is to concentrate on being ourselves, expressing ourselves and sticking to our game plan. There will be times we’re up against it and times we’re on the front foot.

“We need to enjoy it and make the most of it. There’s a huge amount of belief in this squad that we can go out and get these victories, and hopefully we can do that in Cardiff. It’s going to be incredibly challenging for 80 minutes but we’re very much looking forward to it.”


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