Stuart Hogg: a career to remember

Stuart Hogg: a career to remember

The rugby world has yet again been shocked, when Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg this week after he announced he would be retiring from the game altogether after this year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

With 100 caps for his country, almost 200 club appearances and three British & Irish Lions Tours to his name, Hogg will leave the game a legend. In just a few months’ time, at the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, fans will be able to look back on what has been a ‘generationally influential career’ from one of Scotland’s greats.

After harnessing a love, and an evident talent for rugby at Hawick and Stirling County, Stuart Hogg started his professional career in 2011 when he made his debut for Glasgow Warriors at the age of just 18. Hogg stayed at Scotstoun for nine impressive years, winning the Pro12 Championship in 2014/15, making a total of 121 appearances and scoring a total of 228 points.

Stuart Hogg: a career to remember

Consistent performances at Glasgow earned the Melrose-born fullback a first call-up to the Scotland National squad for the 6 Nations Tournament in 2012. He made his debut against Wales in round two and scored his first International try for his country against France. Just over a year later, Stuart Hogg was selected as part of his first British & Irish Lions squad; the youngest player to tour Australia in the summer of 2013. 

Embed from Getty Images

In the years that followed his first Lions tour, Hogg continued to cement his place among the best fullbacks competing at the international level, playing a key role for both Glasgow in their rise to becoming a true European challenger, and for Scotland in their 2015 and 2019 World Cup campaigns. He claimed back-to-back ‘player of the tournament’ awards for the 2016 and 2017 Six Nations championships, something only one other player (Brian O’Driscoll) had ever done. Hogg also travelled to New Zealand in 2017, for his second tour with the Lions but was forced home due to injury. 

His chance to reach the pinnacle of club rugby came again in 2019, though after Scotland’s disappointing trip to Tokyo, it would not be a campaign to recall. An example of the heights of ecstasy and the lows which befall Scottish rugby fans.

Hogg then signed for Exeter Chiefs in the English Premiership. Despite the season being curtailed due to the global pandemic, the Chiefs won the domestic and European double in Hogg’s first year at the club. His electric acceleration and fantastic footwork have lit up both the Premiership and the Champions Cup in recent years, having made 67 appearances for the Southwest outfit, scoring 99 points, including 18 tries. 

Although he had already achieved so much by the turn of the current decade, Stuart Hogg still had his most coveted career highlights to come. He captained Scotland for three years between 2020 and 2023. During his tenure, he led his side to a first win in England since 1983 and a first win in France since 1999, as well as scoring his 25th try for the Murrayfield side, making him Scotland’s all-time leading try-scorer. In 2021, Hogg flew to South Africa for his third tour with the Lions and played the full game in two out of the three tests, that saw the Lions side narrowly lose out to the World Champion, Springboks. 

Today, Stuart Hogg and Scotland have just placed third in the 2023 Six Nations having beaten both England (again) to hold the Calcutta Cup. They defeated Wales in Cardiff for the first time since 2007. A tournament that all players could be proud of, the Scots currently sit fifth in the World Rankings ahead of the Autumn Internationals and rugby’s tenth World Cup [starting in September]. Scotland will compete in Pool B, beside South Africa and Ireland.

Judging the player’s influence in the colours of Scotland, he has been a stalwart in the side since 2011, having worked with four different coaches and countless young players to help his nation rise to seal a place in the Top Tier of international rugby. 

People often say that a player; when his time to leave the game comes, should leave the jersey in a better place than where he found it. If any sentiment and fitting tribute to Stuart Hogg’s career were to be true, it would be exactly that! Hogg first pulled on that blue 15 jersey over a decade ago now and it has been his ever since. Scotland has become a nation revitalized in the rugby world and, for many reasons, stakeholders have the boy from Hawick to thank. It will be strange to see a Scotland side without Stuart Hogg come 2024 – with his flair and presence sure to be missed. Yet supporters can only hope that his time comes to an end in a way that he deserves, with one last exhibition on the World Cup fields in France.


At the time of publishing, Stuart Hogg had played 100 test matches. He heads the list of top five Scottish players (see main image), and looks set to add to that tally in the 2023 Rugby World Cup – if fit and able.


“Main photo credit from Scottish Rugby facebook post