Stuart Hogg's burgeoning friendship with Owen Farrell
The tour may have ended in bitter disappointment for the Lions, but that didn’t stop the Exeter Chiefs fullback from striking up an unlikely friendship with the notoriously intense standoff.
Of course, Lions tours have traditionally been about putting away national allegiances and bonding with teammates who you’re normally attempting to run through on a regular basis. Yet, despite it being their third tour together, it’s taken until now for the respective captains to truly form a connection.
Hogg had spoken on tour about how much the Englishman had impressed off the pitch.
“And somebody that has really, really impressed me in the last few weeks is Owen Farrell. He speaks really, really well. He gives you a huge amount of confidence to go out there and execute your role.
“And if you don’t quite get it right he is quick to jump on you at that opportunity as well but he spoke on Tuesday after the session and not everything was perfect, we had some tricky weather conditions to deal with but we got out of that session what we needed. It was scrappy at times, we know it is going to be scrappy in the games, but he spoke incredibly well after that and I left that training field in a much better place than what I initially thought.
“As I say, I have learned a huge amount from a lot of boys in this squad and I am absolutely loving the opportunity to get better.”
It was a view he expanded on this week from the island of Jersey, where the UK-based contingent of the Lions are being forced to isolate before returning to their respective homes.
“I thought he was going to be intense throughout the whole time, but he’s one of them that’s intense on a training field and he knows what he wants from it, but as soon as you finish training he’s proper chilled out,” Hogg told Sean O’Brien and Adam Jones on the House of Rugby podcast.
“I didn’t get that vibe off him in the previous two tours. I think that is why we bonded so well, because he’s proper chilled out.
Hogg also predicted that one of the Northern Hemisphere sides is likely to topple the Springboks when they travel north for the November Tests.
“I think it is almost a guarantee that 1 of the northern hemisphere teams will knock over the Saffas. I think it is the team that is actually going to play a fair bit of rugby against them.”
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