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Hoggs future uncertain

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Should Hogg stay or Hogg go?

Stuart Hogg is used to making big decisions.

Boom a high ball back from whence it came, or set off on a strutting, shimmying counterattack?

Stay in the backfield or explode into the line?

Thunder through a gap, run a swooping arc past his man, stab a deft grubber-kick behind the defence or snap the wrists and release the player outside him?

On the rugby field, his is a life lived at searing pace.

The Scotland full-back plays with joyous and instinctive flair fortified by hours of practice on the training paddock.

It is brilliance underpinned by graft and is a wonder to watch.

Hogg is the youngest Scot to win 50 caps.

He has twice been named Six Nations Player of the Championship and has two Lions tours under his belt, even if he was callow on the first and injury brutally curtailed the second.

His career is peppered with dazzling flourishes of skill and guts, from the outrageous, slaloming decimation of England Saxons aged just 19, to the roaring performance that propelled Scotland to within a Kieran Read slap-down of a first win over the mighty All Blacks.

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Yes, Hogg is used to making big decisions and making them correctly.

There’s a whopper of a choice looming towards him now.

The most significant he will ever have made in a rugby context.

Hogg’s Glasgow Warriors contract is expiring and his will be among the most coveted signatures in Europe.

Should he stay at Scotstoun, where his workload is carefully managed and his welfare sacrosanct?

Or is it best to move on, flit to England or France where the rugby will be more frequent and more brutal, but he can realise the vast extent of his earning potential?

Frankly, Hogg holds all the cards here. Warriors want him to stay and have opened early discussions to that effect. Several clubs in England and France are already eyeing him very closely.

If Scottish Rugby are to keep him, they would almost certainly have to fork out an unprecedented wage to do so.

Even then, even though the union has deeper pockets than ever, it cannot and will not get close to the eye-watering sums offered in the Premiership and Top 14.

Hogg has watched his Glasgow and Scotland pal Finn Russell move to Racing 92, where he will pocket in the region of £800,000 each year of his three-season contract.

He has a family to consider and in the savage and perilous throes of modern rugby, careers can die painful and sudden deaths.

Just ask Sam Warburton.

But the financial argument is more nuanced than asking who offers the most cash.

Hogg will play less rugby in Glasgow than in England or France and thus the risk of injury is lower.

For most of his career, he led a largely injury-free existence, but professional rugby fells every player sooner or later. A sickening collision with Conor Murray ended his Lions tour a year ago.

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That facial damage, a shoulder problem and subsequent hip injury kept him out for months at a time.

He underwent surgery on a troublesome ankle this week and will miss Scotland’s autumn internationals.

Would he be wiser to stay in Glasgow and accept a lower, but still ample, salary while banking on a longer career?

Hogg has done a lot of growing up since the days of bamboozling the Saxons.

Back then, he could be a bit full of himself.

He was good – very good, widely lionised as the saviour of Scotland’s frequently toothless backline – and he knew it.

There were acts of petulance and symptoms of what we in Scotland would call Daft Laddie Syndrome.

He got big-headed and agitated for a move to Ulster, so Gregor Townsend left him out of Glasgow’s run to their first Pro12 final in 2014.

There was a red card.

There was a dive and there was a Nigel Owens put-down.

That is gone now.

Fatherhood and responsibility has brought maturity.

Hogg has ditched the arrogance but kept his swagger.

He is growing into a fine leader for club and country, the man Glasgow and Scotland turn to when they need dug out of a hole.

He will make this most vital of decisions from a position of strength.

And just as he does on the field, he will back himself unequivocally to call it right.

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Should Hogg stay or Hogg go?