Hogg breaks record in Scotland victory
By Mark Stevens
Scotland captain Stuart Hogg became his country’s record try-scorer during their 29-20 Autumn Nations Series win against Japan at Murrayfield.
The Exeter full-back raced in for try number 25 in trademark style, starting and finishing the move in the 26th minute, on his 88th appearance for Scotland.
The historic landmark was not lost on the 29-year-old, who leapt into the air with his fist raised in front of the south stand.
Hogg had drawn level with former Scotland players Ian Smith and Tony Stanger as joint-top try-scorer with two touchdowns in last week’s 30-15 defeat by South Africa, but now holds the record outright.
Hogg’s record-breaking try typified his ability to create something out of nothing from deep with electrifying pace. He followed up his offload to Chris Harris after his initial break to glide on to the end of a scintillating passage of play from the Scots.
His effort helped restore the lead earned by Duhan van Der Merwe's early score.
Darcy Graham gave the hosts an interval cushion and, although Rikiya Matsuda's boot and a Tevita Tatafu effort kept Japan in touch, Stuart McInally's try ultimately proved enough for Scotland.
The victory added to successes over Tonga and Australia, as Gregor Townsend's side followed up defeat by world champions South Africa with this unconvincing win over their troublesome visitors.
Post-game, a delighted Hogg said: “I think you can see by my reaction how much it [the new record] meant to me. The main thing, though, is we got a good win.
"We've managed to win three out of four Test matches in the autumn and the exciting thing for me is that we're not quite satisfied with everything that happened.
"We're yet to find that complete 80-minute performance but I think part of that was because we were put under a lot of pressure by Japan who managed to hold on to the ball for large periods."
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend added: "It was a real Test match. Japan showed the level of play we saw from them in 2019. They're the only team I can think of in world rugby who keep the ball in their own half and go through the phases.
"I've got to commend our defensive effort. We had to come through adversity too, with penalties against us and the yellow card. I felt our contact work in attack was the best it's been in the whole campaign."