March 14, 2018 / 10:10 AM / 8 days ago

Hogg dismisses criticism, happy with Six Nations form

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Stuart Hogg has dismissed suggestions he is struggling for form as Scotland look to finish their Six Nations campaign on a high note with a win in Italy on Saturday.

Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Ireland vs Scotland - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland - March 10, 2018 Scotland’s Greig Laidlaw and Stuart Hogg look dejected after the match REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

The 25-year-old British and Irish Lions fullback was named the best player in the last two championships but has had limited impact this time as Scotland have won twice at home, including the Calcutta Cup, but lost in Wales and Ireland.

“I’ve maybe not made the breaks that everyone’s used to, so people say I’m having a stinker, but I’m fairly happy with the way I’m playing. I’ve done what I have to do in the games,” Hogg told reporters as Scotland prepared for the trip to Rome.

Hogg said the approach of coach Gregor Townsend had made for an enjoyable campaign and that Scotland were showing signs of building a future title-winning team.

“I’m loving it. The boys are playing incredibly well and Gregor is very much attack focused,” he added.

“You have your short-term goals week-on-week but longer-term, the goal is to win the Six Nations and we have come up short there.

“We’re just concentrating on getting the victory (in Italy) and if we do that, then we are three (wins) from five and we give ourselves an opportunity to finish as high up as we possibly can.

“We want to win titles and this time last week we were very much in the situation where we could do that, so we viewed the Ireland game as a semi-final and, unfortunately, we came up just short.

“I think we’re going in the right direction. The way we try to play — quick tempo, keep the ball in play for long periods of time, back our fitness — we’re going to win games.

“We’re on the right track but it is all about learning and improving and looking to get better and better and, ultimately, picking up titles.”

Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by xx

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