Hogg Bracing Himself For Back-Row Battle

Edinburgh captain Allister Hogg admits he is bracing himself for another no-holds-barred back row battle with Connacht openside Johnny O"Connor when the two sides meet at Murrayfield on Friday (21 March, kick off 7.30pm).

After scoring a try during Scotland's final RBS 6 Nations Test last weekend, Hogg is preparing for another strenuous challenge against O"Connor after being involved in two epic battles with the Irish flanker before in EH12.

Remember to take up the club's egg-cellent Kids 4 Free offer to watch this battle unfold and make your Good Friday even better. Four children (under-18) can gain free admission when accompanied by a paying Adult who pre-books a ticket (_15).

Hogg and O"Connor first slugged it out at Murrayfield during the 2005 6 Nations when the Irishman scored a try for his country during Scotland's 13-40 defeat.

But Scotland internationalist Hogg got his revenge eight months later when he played a pivotal role in Edinburgh's Heineken Cup win over O"Connor's Wasps at Murrayfield.

Now the 25-year-old is anticipating another stern test against the magnificent seven from the wild west of Ireland in Edinburgh's must-win Magners League clash.

Hogg said: "Johnny O"Connor is a good player and he has obviously helped transform Connacht since he moved back there in the summer.

'the ability he has to read the game, get to breakdown ball and slow it down is very good."

Reflecting on their previous meetings, Hogg believes the final encounter was one of the highlights of his Edinburgh career to date; when Wasps were sent home tae think again.

He added; 'the Ireland game certainly hurt; losing at home. But the Wasps game was certainly a great game and a memorable occasion. Everybody had written us off beforehand and the pundits were saying Wasps would walk away with it.

"But it was one of the best performances Edinburgh has produced in the Heineken Cup. It was a great advert for rugby; it was an exciting game with end-to-end stuff. It was a thoroughly enjoyable game to play in as well."

Even though Connacht are currently propping up the table, Hogg stresses that the team will not underestimate the sheer magnitude of the task that awaits them on Friday evening.

He said: "It is going to be tough; especially up front because Connacht are a big side. They have got a good pack of forwards and they also caused a lot of problems out wide when we played them earlier on in the season. I think if we can match them up front then we have got a great chance of winning."