How Scotland plan to cover the loss of stand-offs Finn Russell and Adam Hastings
Stuart Hogg started the game at full-back and ended it at stand-off, slotting over the penalty which set the seal on Scotland’s 14-10 win in Wales.
The victory was hard fought and came at a cost, with both Finn Russell and Adam Hastings invalided out in Llanelli.
To lose one stand-off may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both is cruel, particularly with the Autumn Nations Cup just around the corner.
Hogg has played at fly-half before - most notably in a midweek win for the British & Irish Lions during the tour of Australia in 2013. But the captain does not expect to be in the No.10 jersey when Scotland face Italy in their Nations Cup opener on 14 November.
“I am old enough and ugly enough to go in at ten and have enough experience,” he said. “I would not want to start there but I thought Ali [Price] helped us control the last 20 minutes, so fair play to him.”
The prognosis on Russell was not positive but was more hopeful around Hastings. The former lasted 30 minutes before succumbing to a groin injury and Hastings, his replacement, had to go off with ten minutes remaining after popping his shoulder for the second time in the game.
“Finn is in more pain than Adam,” said Scotland coach Gregor Townsend. “He was involved in a tackle and his leg just went to the side. He felt something go in his groin/adductor.
“It’s similar to what Grant Gilchrist did over in Munster with Edinburgh, and a couple of days later he thought he would be OK but that wasn’t the case – he’s had to have surgery.
“Adam subluxed his shoulder twice in the second half. The first went back in quite quickly and he carried on, but the second one he had to be removed from the field of play. Hopefully, it won’t keep him out too long.”
The experienced Duncan Weir is the third stand-off in the squad and knows all about winning Italy, although centre James Lang could be another option at 10.
“We’ve got a week off to reflect on that and see where Finn and Adam are,” said Townsend. “We’re hoping their injuries aren’t serious but it does look quite bad just now.
“Hoggy can move in at first receiver within games. We’ve got options at ten, Duncan Weir has been playing really well and Jaco van der Walt becomes qualified for the France or Fiji games.”
Hogg has now skippered Scotland to three Championship win in a row, the first captain to do so since Rob Wainwright back in 1996. The achievement was not lost on the Hawick man.
“It means everything to us,” he said. “We worked incredibly hard to be in a position to win Test matches and we have had a good three weeks together. We are delighted with that.
“It is 18 years since we last won down here. For us, that was an unacceptable record so we wanted to do everything we possibly could to change that. I believed in the boys from the first minute that they were going to win and thankfully they have done exactly that.”
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