British & Irish Lions

Hogg expects Scotland to 'click into gear' against Italy

Stuart Hogg (Getty Images)
Stuart Hogg (Getty Images)

Rome - Stuart Hogg believes Scotland can finally click into gear against Italy after a fumbling start to his first Six Nations' captaincy.

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The Exeter Chiefs fullback's errors contributed to Scotland's first two defeats against Ireland (24-14) and England (13-6).

But they have a chance against whipping boys Italy, who are on a 24-match losing streak in the tournament.

"We need to get our stuff spot on. A win tomorrow would give us a huge amount of confidence to kick on," said the 27-year-old.

"We're coming off the back of two defeats. We know there is a lot on the line.

"We have to learn quick. We can't be sat here and in a couple of years time saying exactly the same thing."

Scotland have won their last three games in Italy, but all have been close.

"The last three times we've played its taken 75 minutes to bring these boys down," he said.

"The momentum swings in every single game, the crowd will get behind them but there will be a lot of Scots, we'll try and get them involved in the game.

"We have the opportunity tomorrow to express ourselves and to have some fun."

The Scots want to put on a show in sunny conditions in the Stadio Olimpico, after a rain and wind-swept game against England in Murrayfield.

"We want to play a fast expansive brand of rugby. Against England it was taken away from us purely because of the weather. This weekend we'll have a dry ball and we'll try and be smart in our approach to this game."

Hogg took over the captain's armband last month after Greig Laidlaw retired, but has yet to celebrate a win.

"I'm learning about myself and the role of captain," he said.

"It does hurt losing in the Scotland jersey. For the last couple of weeks I've taken more pressure because I'm captain.

"I'm always looking to improve. I just want to get the best out of me and the best out of the players.

"We've done good stuff in the last couple of weeks."

Hogg defended coach Greg Townsend who has been under-fire after a disappointing World Cup and the exile of flyhalf Finn Russell exiled after a falling out for breaching team protocol.

"I don't think Greg's under pressure," added Hogg.

"He's a terrific coach. We've been in a position a few times to win test matches, we're getting the tools to be successful, but we're not at times clicking."

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