Stuart Hogg has been appointed Scotland’s new captain for the Guinness Six Nations, the Scottish Rugby Union has announced.
Exeter’s full-back takes over from Stuart McInally, who led the team during last year’s disappointing World Cup campaign.
With 71 caps, the double British and Irish lion is the most experienced player in the 38-person team named by Gregor Townsend for this year’s championship, which for Scotland begins with a trip to Dublin on February 1.
SCOTLAND CAPTAIN 🏴
Full-back Stuart Hogg will be Scotland’s captain for the Guinness Six Nations 2020! The double champion player of the tournament and British & Irish Lion is the most experienced player in the 38-person team to be announced soon … # AsOne pic.twitter.com/aQTiFOIqH7
– Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) January 15, 2020
McInally received the armband for former skippers Greig Laidlaw and John Barclay when the team flew to Japan.
But the Edinburgh hooker had a disappointing tournament and stayed out of the starting line-up when the Dark Blues saw their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals evaporate with a defeat for the hosts in their final pool game.
Laidlaw and Barclay have since announced their retirement from international action and Townsend has now decided it is time for Hogg, one of only two true world-class operators in his team to take over with Finn Russell.
Townsend also did a recall to centers Matt Scott, Huw Jones and Rory Hutchinson after all three were omitted from the team that traveled to the Far East in the fall – but Duncan Taylor from Saracens is a notable absentee. tackled while playing for Bristol, is one of the new faces in the team (David Davies / PA)
There are also first call-ups for Gloucester lock Alex Craig, Glasgow wing Ratu Tagive, Warriors flanker Tom Gordon and Edinburgh number eight Nick Haining.
Townsend explained his captaincy call and said: “Stuart is very passionate about playing for Scotland and he is determined to do everything he can to improve Scotland. He really cares about playing for his country, for which the jersey is for and to get the best out of his teammates.
“He is a really intelligent rugby player who learns and improves with every season. He is very good at involving others in the game and building relationships with the people around him.
“He is highly respected by our coaching and playing group, but that is not based on the awards he has earned. It is more about what he does every day during training.”
It is a new team and a new era, and Stuart has a chance to help this group reach its potential.
Townsend added: “He brings energy, is very accurate, he stays outside longer to work on his game and is more often than not the loudest player on the field who guides or congratulates his teammates.
“He really wanted to take on the honor and responsibility of being a captain, which was a huge positive and heard his plans about how he would work as a captain and work to get the best out of others, while concentrating on his own game – meant that it became a relatively simple decision.
“We will have a strong group of leaders around that can help, but it is a new team and a new era, and Stuart has a chance to help this group reach its potential.”