Six Nations 2020: Stuart Hogg says Gregor Townsend is not under pressure

By Andy BurkeBBC Scotland in Rome
Stuart Hogg
Stuart Hogg is yet to captain Scotland to victory in this year's Six Nations
Guinness Six Nations: Italy v Scotland
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Date: Saturday, 22 February Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra & BBC Radio Scotland; text commentary online; video highlights on BBC Sport website and app.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend is not under pressure despite two successive Six Nations defeats, says captain Stuart Hogg.

The Scots take on Italy in Rome on Saturday looking for a first win in the 2020 tournament after losses against Ireland and England.

Those followed an early World Cup exit and criticism of Townsend's approach from exiled fly-half Finn Russell.

"I think he is a terrific coach," said Hogg.

"It is us that play the game at the end of the day. We've been in a position a few times to win Test matches and we've let some go.

"We are getting the tools to be successful, we're just not clicking at times and nailing every opportunity."

Scotland's improved defensive showing against Ireland in Dublin and at home to England have yielded two losing bonus-points so far, while next opponents Italy are yet to pick up a point, and have not won a Six Nations match for five years.

Hogg, 27, believes the area that needs most improvement is attack with Scotland having failed to score a try in their first two outings.

"The Ireland game, for instance, we talked about our finish zone," the Exeter full-back said.

"You might get six or seven opportunities in a game and you have to make the most of every single one. At times we haven't and that's the reason we're not winning Test matches.

"The only pressure is the pressure we put on ourselves. We believe in our game plan. Our individual ability and collective ability to make sure that we win Test matches.

"Whatever comes from outwith us is irrelevant."

'Everybody concentrates on the negatives'

Hogg has made costly errors in the losses to Ireland and England, firstly dropping the ball over the line in Dublin, then failing to deal with a kick which resulted in a 5m scrum, from which England scored the decisive try at Murrayfield.

But he says he has not allowed those incidents to dent his confidence, having scored for Exeter during the fallow week.

"I will be doing my normal performance, going out to express myself and have some fun," Hogg added.

"But everybody concentrates on the negatives nowadays, rather than the positives that happened in the game.

"I believe I've done a lot of good stuff in the past couple of weeks as well. But everybody concentrates on the not-so-good moments.

"I'm a confident player. I believe in my ability. I know that, on my day, I can play some good rugby. I'm looking forward to doing that on Saturday."

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