Hogg: Edinburgh Are On Right Road

ImageAllister Hogg admits he is raring to go ahead of the new season and revealed that the Edinburgh squad are aiming to superpass their previous_achievements.

After playing a hugely influential role in helping Edinburgh narrowly miss out on third spot last term, the mobile back rower says he feels refreshed and recharged ahead of the big kick-off.

And the 25-year-old says he cannot wait for the curtain to come up on the new campaign.

Hogg said: "I think we just have to go about our business like we did last year. We know what we are capable of, what we are good at and what we need to work on.

Allister is in for next season and you can join him by signing up for a 2008/2009 Edinburgh Rugby Club season ticket. Call 0131 346 5180 to reserve your place at The Castle and become part of a team that an inspirational capital can be proud of.

"It will be a lot harder during the new season because people will expect us to be good. So we will need to up our game again.

"It will be a tough season, but the aim is to finish higher up the league and that is what all the preparation work is about. If we can get off to a good start then it will certainly help us out come the end of the season.

"Pre-season is all going well. After a week off, the boys have come straight back into it. Everyone is really refreshed and ready for the next phase of our preparation work which is a lot more rugby and working towards our first warm up match against Wasps (Saturday, 23 August, kick off 2.30pm, call 0131 346 5180 for tickets)."

Hogg's last competitive outing was in the cauldron-like intensity of Buenos Aires and he says that Scotland were thrilled with the win, but slightly disappointed it has not been two-in-a-row.

He added: "It was obviously a massive win and it just shows the level of expectation within the Scotland squad that we were a little disappointed not to come away with two wins.

"We felt we had the capabilities of doing that. The way we defended in the second half of the second Test was great and I was proud to be a part of that. It was a nice way to finish a long season."

Against the Pumas, Hogg took to the field with a number eight jersey on his back and after making his name as an openside on the Test stage while regularly featuring as blindside for Edinburgh, the Stirling-born forward acknowledges the debate over his strongest position will continue.

He said: 'the debate will probably go on. It has been like that ever since I started playing; jack-of-all-trades and master of none.

"I"m just happy to be involved. The back row is all about getting the best blend and if that means me switching positions and taking on a different role then I"m happy to do that."

With Castres grouped together with Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup, Hogg admits he will be seeking the advice of long-term pal Al Kellock after the lock captained Glasgow to a pre-season win over the French club at the weekend.

He said: "I"ve not spoken to Al for a couple of weeks, but I"m sure he"ll give me a few tips. It was a good win for them, especially away in France. We will just have to wait and see how the game pans out."

Both Magners League title holders Leinster and English champions Wasps are also in the same Pool, but Hogg believes Edinburgh will flourish in the role of underdogs.

He said: "We will probably be seen as underdogs and written off, but we have already beaten two of the teams in our group before.

'there is no reason why we can't go out and perform to get the wins that we need. It will be a great spectacle to come to Murrayfield to watch it happen. We"ve just got to worry about ourselves and if we can get our game right then we will be there or thereabouts."

The inaugural professional player draft to Premier One clubs took place recently with Hogg being chosen by his boyhood team, Stirling County; something he was very happy about.

He said: "It was good to be affiliated to Stirling again. Al Kellock, Mark McMillan and I have all been affiliated to Stirling and we"re all local lads. I"ll certainly be down there at some point during the year."