GLASGOW Warriors star Stuart Hogg will today play in a position he has not been in for four seasons - but head coach Gregor Townsend is confident he will take the switch in his stride.
Full-back Hogg will line up in the No 10 jersey against Treviso in Italy this afternoon, having last played competitively at stand-off for the Lions on their 2013 tour to Australia. Although he has moved up from 15 to fill in at 10 during games, this will be the Scotland international’s first Warriors start in the jersey. But Townsend, who played mainly at 10 himself, knows Hogg has the qualities to make a success of the move, which has come about because Finn Russell is being rested and back-up Pete Horne is still out injured.
“He has covered there a number of times, and gone there during games, and in our last three games he’s been the replacement 10 but Finn’s played 80 minutes,” Townsend said after naming his team. “So this is a chance for us to see him there if he’s going to be our back-up ten for our next Champions Cup game.
“He’s a very good passer of the ball, a good kicker, and now has a level of experience and knowledge of our attacking shape that allows him to control what we do in attack. He can make decisions on where there is space to attack. He has a very good running game and while it’s suited more to full-back, and running onto the ball, he can still take it as a first receiver too.
“He’s going to have 40 or 50 touches of the ball, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes with that. But watching him today in training he’s very good at organising what we do in attack and we also want him running. I’m excited about it.”
Peter Murchie stands in for Hogg at full-back, while Tommy Seymour returns on the wing and Ryan Wilson is in the back row after both men were rested for the 1872 Cup win over Edinburgh on Boxing Day. Adam Ashe also starts in the back row for the first time since returning from injury. Lee Jones has been ruled out by injury, and Jonny Gray, Alex Dunbar and Mark Bennett are among those rested this time round.
Glasgow Warriors (v Benetton Treviso at Stadio Monigo, today, kick-off 1.05pm UK time, live on BBC Alba): P Murchie; J Bulumakau, N Grigg, S Johnson, T Seymour; S Hogg, H Pyrgos; G Reid, P MacArthur, D Rae, T Swinson, B Alainu’uese, A Ashe, C Fusaro, R Wilson. Substitutes: C Flynn, A Allan, Z Fagerson, R Harley, S Favaro, N Kenatale, R Clegg, S Lamont.