NEWCASTLE Falcons’ No 8 Ally Hogg has not thrown the towel in on his Scotland career despite the last of his 48 international caps coming three and a half years ago., writes MARK SMITH.
The 29-year-old, who recently committed to a new three-year contract with Newcastle, said of his Scotland prospects: “I’m not getting much love up there at the moment.
“If we are in the Premiership and I am playing well then you never know, but if we are relegated to the Championship then it will be very difficult for them to select me from down there.”
Scotland have a three-test tour to Australia, Samoa and Fiji next month, but Hogg is not expecting a call from head coach Andy Robinson anytime soon. He said: “I’ve already booked my summer holiday, and I didn’t wait for the squad announcement before I did it.
“I’m not going to do an Andy Nicol and book a holiday in the same place that the team are going, and in fairness to him it worked because he got an emergency call-up for the 2001 British and Irish Lions in Australia where he was travelling at the time as a tourist.
“You won’t see me hanging around on the beach in Fiji or Samoa on the off-chance of a call, although my Samoan team-mate at Newcastle, Taiasina Tu’ifua, has said I am more than welcome at his place!”
The former Edinburgh back-rower has shone for the Falcons in a turbulent campaign which saw them finish bottom of the table, playing in all but one of their matches in all competitions.
“International rugby is one of those things you just cannot worry about, and if you are playing well for your club the hope is that it takes care of itself,” he said.
“Sometimes you are in and sometimes you are not, but I will never say never as far as Scotland are concerned. I have still got a massive desire to play for them, but at the moment there is not much love coming my way. That is just the way it goes sometimes, and it happens to everyone at some stage.
“It comes and goes, which we all accept, and all I can do is just keep working hard to improve. I will keep doing what I am doing at Newcastle, and I know I am in a privileged position to be at a club like this where we are so well looked after.”
Committing to the Falcons despite the club facing relegation, he said: “I really enjoy Newcastle as a club, the players are a great bunch and with Dean Richards coming in as director of rugby it is an exciting place to be. That is still the case even if we go down to the Championship, and it is a club that I want to be part of.”
Newcastle have one last life-line to preserve their Premiership status in the form of the Championship play-offs, where a Bedford or Cornish Pirates victory would guarantee no relegation from the top-flight. Bristol can come up should they overturn the 21-point deficit held by Pirates in Sunday’s semi-final second leg, while uncertainty surrounds the details of London Welsh’s bid for promotion.
“We can’t control what happens in the Championship play-offs, so there is no point worrying about it,” said Hogg.
“If you do you will go mad, and you don’t get a very long off-season in rugby. The Championship final is on May 30, and we are back in training in early June regardless. That is the time when you focus on what you are doing.”