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Exeter issue timely update on fitness of Stuart Hogg for Scotland

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Rob Baxter has given an update on the current fitness of Stuart Hogg, the Exeter full-back who is away for the first half of this week training with Scotland ahead of their Guinness Six Nations opener versus England on February 4. The Test-level linchpin has been out of action with a heel injury since the Chiefs’ Christmas Eve Gallagher Premiership match at home to Bath.


It was January 17 when Hogg, who started all three of the four Autumn Nations Series matches he was available for, was named by Gregor Townsend in the Scotland squad of 40 for the upcoming championship. At that stage, there was no certainty that he would be fit and ready for this week’s national team training camp.

Exeter boss Baxter said at the time: “It is an improving picture, but he is still not training. It is not like a significant ligament or cartilage (problem) or something like that, so there is an expectation he will come through this in time for the Six Nations.”

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A week later, with Hogg currently in Scotland, Baxter has now explained that Hogg has trained fully so far with his country and that Exeter will consider selecting him for this Saturday’s match at home to Gloucester which would be his first game in five weeks if he plays.

“I believe he is in full training with Scotland,” said Baxter when asked on Wednesday for a fitness update on Hogg at his weekly Exeter media briefing. “He did a fair bit of training with us last week. Kind of the first time in an extended period. He got some through more metres and was moving at more speed and was declared fit to go and train with Scotland. So he is up and running now and available for selection.”


Baxter also shared his thoughts on whether the injured Luke Cowan-Dickie had played his last match for Exeter and the latest transfer news from France concerning Harry Williams. England regular Cowan-Dickie had his Six Nations availability ruined by a serious ankle injury in the January 7 league win over Northampton and there were fears that the Montpellier-bound hooker might not wear the Exeter shirt again before he leaves.

“We’re hopeful,” said Baxter. “The length of injury should mean he is back before the end of the season. The challenge will be whether it will be one week, two weeks (at the) end of season and if we can get some progression games in, that gives him a chance to play more games. But it’s not going to be a big chunk of the season that he gets back available for.”


As for Williams, who is reportedly set for a switch to Montpellier along with the already signed Cowan-Dickie and Sam Simmonds, Baxter added: “You may well have read that in France. Listen, he is another one of the guys who has an option in his contract. It’s a two-way option, club and player, which means he may well be looking around at options as two or three of our other lads have done who had options in their last year of this three years when we extended them.

“So I don’t want to say it is true, I don’t want to say it’s not true because you probably know as much as I do. We are obviously in communication along the lines, I know which players have got options, so I am keeping our options open and available as to what may or may not happen. As I say, you probably know as much as I do.”


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