Hogg hails hero

Stuart Hogg is relishing the opportunity to learn from childhood hero and now British & Irish Lions teammate Brian O'Driscoll. [more]

Hogg hails hero

Stuart Hogg is relishing the opportunity to learn from childhood hero and now British & Irish Lions teammate Brian O’Driscoll.

While the Scotland full-back is the youngest member of Warren Gatland’s Lions squad, four-time tourist O’Driscoll is the eldest.

The duo could not be further apart on their career paths in professional rugby. Hogg was just eight-years-old as the Ireland legend embarked on his first Lions tour of Australia and famously waltz past the Wallabies in the first Test.

Living with the Lions has already been an eye-opening experience for Hogg, who will start against the Barbarians on Saturday, and he has pin-pointed the arrival of childhood hero O’Driscoll as one of the most surreal moments to date.

"Being with the Lions has been a really good experience," Hogg said.

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"On Sunday, Brian O'Driscoll turned up and that was pretty unbelievable because he was my hero growing up. I remember that try he scored for the Lions (against Australia) in 2001.

"He is someone to look up to for his attitude on and off the field. He's down to earth and I have a lot of respect for that.

"To have the chance to train and play with him is a dream come true. It's quite surreal at times.

"It would be good to have a chat with him and see what he's got to say. I'm looking to learn during this whole tour, so it's great to have a guy like that on the trip.

"First and foremost I'll be looking to learn from Leigh Halfpenny and Rob Kearney in terms of being a 15, but you can learn from everyone."

Hogg is one of 17 new Lions set to face the Barbarians in Hong Kong on Saturday, with the Glasgow Warriors ace handed the fullback jersey.

And following two weeks of intense training, team bonding and preparation, Hogg is relishing the big kick-off of the famous tourists’ 125th anniversary tour.

"The mood is upbeat and positive," said Hogg.

"Everyone has a smile on their face, which is exactly what we are after.

"The Test series in Australia is a massive opportunity to create some history. Our expectations down there are to win and that is all we are concentrating on.

"We want to pick up as many wins as we can on the road and then the Test series at the end of it.

"It's not about nationality with the Lions because it's four nations in one, but at the same time I am looking to do my country proud.

"I will do that by playing my best for the Lions."

One of Hogg’s duties as the youngest member of the squad is to look after British & Irish Lions mascot BIL.

Leigh Halfpenny and then Keith Earls were charged with the duty during the 2009 tour of South Africa and were the victim of several jokes but Hogg remains focused on the job at hand.

"Carrying the mascot is an extra responsibility, but I am enjoying it. We've become really friendly over the last couple of weeks," added Hogg.

"The mascot does exacerbate my hay fever, but that is improving now that I am on the pills. No matter what happens to me, I am always going to have to look after it."
 

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