Stuart Hogg try a ‘perfect tonic’ after Scotland blunders

Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter was pleased for his full-back Stuart Hogg after he scored a crucial try in their 26-15 win at Gloucester.

The Scotland captain has endured a tough time in recent weeks as Scotland have lost both of their opening two Six Nations games, including an opening 19-12 defeat to Ireland where the star player hit the headlines after losing control of the ball when a try seemed a certainty.

A gutted Hogg described that blunder as a “schoolboy” gaffe but the 27-year-old showed the best of his game on Friday with a superb try in Exeter’s Premiership win at Kingsholm.

Hogg started the second-half move with a fine run inside his own half and then finished things off after his team-mates had helped rip through the Gloucester defence.

Chiefs director of rugby Baxter said: “It will be fantastic for Hoggy to have a picture in the papers of him touching down.

“It was a perfect tonic for him as his performance was faultless and he took his one opportunity to deliver the killer blow.”

Baxter was also full of praise for the performance of experienced fly-half Gareth Steenson, who was captain for the night.

Steenson slotted over four penalties and two conversions in an exemplary display of goal-kicking in difficult conditions to ensure Exeter, for whom Jacques Vermeulen scored their other try, extended their lead at the top of the table to five points.

Baxter said: “We know that Gareth is an exceptional goal-kicker but he was an example tonight as he led the way defensively for us.

“Gloucester targeted him with a lot of one-off runners coming down his channel and it pleased me more than his goal-kicking that he stood up to that defensive task.

“We’ve been criticised for not taking kickable points in the past so today we thought we’d abandon our flair and kick the penalties as it was important that we continued to build points on the scoreboard.

Chiefs TV – We speak with @ExeterChiefs full-back @StuartWHOGG_ moments after Friday night's 15-26 victory over @gloucesterrugby, where Hogg scored his first @premrugby try! pic.twitter.com/cBSpQve4ol

— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) February 15, 2020

“Our set-piece was really good with the players toughing it out and they stood and fought long enough to secure victory but we did run out of puff at the end.”

Jake Polledri and Louis Rees-Zammit responded with late tries for Gloucester with Billy Twelvetrees adding a conversion and penalty.

The Cherry and Whites remain fourth in the table but have now lost six of their 10 games this season and head Johan Ackermann accepted his side were their own worst enemies.

He said: “The stats will show that we had a lot of territory and a number of line-breaks but we failed to take advantage.

“Credit to Exeter as they took their opportunities but our ill-discipline cost us as we gave away silly penalties.

“They slowed our ball down and we had to be patient but we just couldn’t keep the ball.”

After Ackermann made a host of changes, Gloucester were rejuvenated in the final 15 minutes and were rewarded by scoring two late tries, which kept the final scoreline respectable.

Ackermann added: “The bench was exceptional as they got us front foot ball but we are not playing good enough from the first minute so we have to look at ourselves and keep the faith.”