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Stuart Hogg to start at fly-half for Glasgow against Benetton Treviso

Stuart Hogg will make a rare run-out at fly-half for Glasgow on Saturday but Gregor Townsend does not see it becoming a permanent switch any time soon.

The Scotland full-back will reprise a role he once filled for the British and Irish Lions when Warriors travel to Italy to face Guinness PRO12 strugglers Benetton Treviso.

Head coach Townsend reckons the 24-year-old has all the skills required to operate in the play-making role.

But he believes Hogg will be more dangerous in the long term stepping up from the back.

He told Press Association Sport: "Hoggy hasn't started at 10 for us before but he has performed the role a lot in training sessions.

"But I don't think he's a frustrated fly-half though. Maybe he was once upon a time. He played a bit of 10 when he was coming through the ranks.

"He was a centre during his first year at Glasgow but he didn't really enjoy that and has now developed into a world-class full-back.

"Could this be something he does more regularly as the years go by? Maybe, but I still think his best position is at 15.

"His biggest asset is his running ability and you get more opportunity to use that and take on the defence at full pace at 15 than you do at fly-half.

"Maybe as his legs slow down in future he could step forward but that will all depend on who is at 15 and who is at 10. We're just delighted with the mix we have."

Hogg has made his name as an explosive full-back but was a surprise choice at 10 during the Lions' 2013 tour of Australia, marking his starting slot during a warm-up clash against a Combined Queensland-New South Wales Country XV with a try.

He has not played there since but Townsend - who has regular fly-half Peter Horne out injured and Scotland star Finn Russell in need of a rest - reckons he will make the adjustment with ease.

"The 10 and 15 are so linked these days," he said. "Tens drop to back-field quite a lot and you see 15s coming up to become first receiver all the time. With them getting so much of the ball now, Stuart's passing skills and the decision-making he utilises at 15 can easily be translated to 10 ."

Despite their recent upturn in results, Glasgow are still lingering in sixth place in the PRO12 standings.

They are just a point outside of the top four but lag 11 behind leaders Munster and Townsend admits his team need to extend their winning run if they are to make the play-offs for a sixth year in a row.

"We've still lots of work to do," said the incoming Scotland coach. "We're going to have to win a few games away from home to put ourselves back in contention.

"We've got Treviso this weekend and Cardiff at home next week, then we're back to the European fixtures. But after that is the Six Nations period when we are going to have to pick up some wins.

"It will be tough having so many of our internationalists away as well as the fact the competition in the PRO12 is much higher than in previous years. We will have to play at our best between now and the end of the season just to be in the conversation for the top four."


From Belfast Telegraph