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Hogg: Enjoying our rugby at the heart of Scotland’s success

Hogg: Enjoying our rugby at the heart of Scotland’s success

Hogg: Enjoying our rugby at the heart of Scotland’s success

Stuart Hogg believes happiness on the pitch is catapulting Scotland to new heights after their hard-fought 28-17 win over Italy in Florence.

Gregor Townsend’s side were forced to battle throughout an entertaining contest but tries from Duhan van der Merwe, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings and George Turner propelled them to an impressive bonus-point victory.

Scotland, who toppled Wales away from home for the first time in 18 years in their final Guinness Six Nations clash, have now won five games in a row for the first time since 2011 and captain Hogg reckons enjoyment in their rugby is reaping rewards.

“I always ask the boys to believe in themselves as individuals and us as a collective,” Hogg, 28, told Amazon Prime Video. “Boys want to go out there and express themselves.

“You can see that we have a smile on our faces and we’re enjoying our rugby and ultimately we’re winning Test matches.

“That’s what we’re here to do and long may it continue.”

Franco Smith’s Italy delivered an encouraging performance but were floored by some clinical attacking play from Townsend’s red-hot team.

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The Azzurri started the game brightly in Florence as Matteo Minozzi’s scintillating try, coupled with six points from the boot of Paolo Garbisi, repelled the impact of Van der Merwe’s score and sent Italy into the break 11-7 ahead.

The prolific Garbisi continued to augment his points tally in the second half but Scottish scores from Fagerson and Cummings kept Townsend’s men in contention before edging them in front.

Italy continued to fight hard but a late try from Turner, touching down off the back off a driving maul, was converted by Duncan Weir – who slotted all four of his kicks – to fire the Scots to a well-earned away day triumph.

Hogg and his team had it far from their own way in Italy and the Scotland skipper hailed an improved second-half performance for hauling them over the line.

“Full credit to the Italians, they really brought it to us the whole game,” he added.

“The big thing I said is that no-one can question our work rate in the second-half and that was more of our performance in the second half. I’m pretty chuffed with that.”

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