Wednesday 23 October 2019

Hogg looks up to O'Driscoll

Stuart Hogg is the youngest player on the British and Irish Lions tour
Stuart Hogg is the youngest player on the British and Irish Lions tour

British and Irish Lions rookie Stuart Hogg has revealed his burning desire to learn from veteran Ireland centre Brian O'Driscoll on the current tour of Hong Kong and Australia.

Scotland full-back Hogg is the Lions squad's youngest player. He does not turn 21 until two days after the first Test in Brisbane and is also entrusted with looking after the cuddly toy lion mascot. The Lions experience has already proved an eye-opening one for Hogg and none more so than when four-time Lions tourist O'Driscoll linked up with the squad last weekend.

"Being with the Lions has been a really good experience," Hogg said. "On Sunday, Brian O'Driscoll turned up and that was pretty unbelievable because he was my hero growing up. I remember that try he scored for the Lions (against Australia) in 2001. He is someone to look up to for his attitude on and off the field. He's down to earth and I have a lot of respect for that."

He added: "To have the chance to train and play with him is a dream come true. It's quite surreal at times.

"It would be good to have a chat with him and see what he's got to say. I'm looking to learn during this whole tour, so it's great to have a guy like that on the trip.

"First and foremost I'll be looking to learn from Leigh Halfpenny and Rob Kearney in terms of being a 15, but you can learn from everyone."

Hogg is expected to be on the bench for Saturday's tour opener against the Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium and after a fortnight's intense preparation he is relishing getting going.

"The mood is upbeat and positive," he added."Everyone has a smile on their face, which is exactly what we are after.

"The Test series in Australia is a massive opportunity to create some history. Our expectations down there are to win and that is all we are concentrating on. We want to pick up as many wins as we can on the road and then the Test series at the end of it.

"It's not about nationality with the Lions because it's four nations in one, but at the same time I am looking to do my country proud. I will do that by playing my best for the Lions."

PA Media

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