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'Jonny Gray was quite disappointed... he was sitting next to us and didn't get in the photo'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Rogan Thomson/INPHO via EPCR)

Stuart Hogg has explained the backstory to his hewartwarming post-match ‘beers’ picture with Finn Russell following last Saturday’s Champions Cup final between Exeter and Racing in Bristol.


The snap of the victorious Hogg and the vanquished Russell went viral following the Anglo-French final at Ashton Gate, the two Scottish pals sharing a beer following a match that took place before Russell’s return to Gregor Townsend’s international squad.

Russell walked out of the Scotland team hotel last January ahead of preparations for their Six Nations opener against Ireland and amid the fallout he wasn’t selected in any of the squads Townsend picked that spring. 

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Wasps boss Lee Blackett on his team’s transformation in 2020
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Wasps boss Lee Blackett on his team’s transformation in 2020

However, following clear-the-air talks, Russell this week has returned to the Scotland squad ahead of their Friday night game with Georgia which will be followed next week by their trip to Wales for the final round of the delayed Six Nations.

Appearing on this week’s episode of The Rugby Pod, Scotland captain Hogg explained that the national team furore with Russell was overblown. He also let slip Jonny Gray’s disappointment that he didn’t appear in the post-game picture with Russell and Hogg, as he was sharing a beer with them at the time.  

“What’s happened happened,” said Hogg in relation to the fallout between Russell and Towenend last January. “We can’t change anything. From that point of view it was all blown way out of proportion to what actually happened. 


“Finn and I are very, very good mates and I wanted to go and see how he was after the game. We said in the lead-up up to the game we’d have a beer or two. As I said, he’s a very good mate of mine and I wanted to see how he was. 

“Jonny Gray was actually quite disappointed as he was sitting next to us as well and he didn’t get in the photo. He said, ‘Hoggy, this looks really bad, it looks like I have not to come to see how Finn’s getting on…’

“It was good. For me that’s part of rugby, having a beer with your opposition, and it just happens that he is one of my best mates. I wanted to see how he was. Obviously I was disappointed for him that he didn’t get the win, so it was kind of a weird feeling, but he was chuffed to bits. 

“We had a couple of beers, a good blather, and he’s absolutely buzzing to be back in (Scotland) camp this week. He can get his 50th cap this week, so it’s a big week for him.”  



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