Rob Howley praises Stuart Hogg's "creative X-factor" after giving him Lions nod

Last Updated: 01/05/13 10:43am

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Stuart Hogg: Praised by backs coach Rob Howley for his versatility

Stuart Hogg: Praised by backs coach Rob Howley for his versatility

Sky Bet

Rob Howley praised Stuart Hogg's "creative X-factor" as he said he would have no qualms playing the youngster at fly-half during the Lions Tour of Australia.

The 20-year-old was selected ahead of James Hook and Billy Twelvetrees to be the Lions' utility back, having played at outside centre this season for Glasgow and fly-half at junior level.

And Hogg, who is the youngest player named in the 37-man squad, has never played in the position for Glasgow but will provide the fly-half back-up to Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell on the 10-match Lions tour.

Backs coach Howley said: "James Hook was called up in 2009 as a utility player and we discussed Billy Twelvetrees, who was in the mix, but we have been so impressed with Stuart Hogg in terms of his playing 15 and 13 with Glasgow and we think he has that ability to play 10.

"One thing about the Lions is you give players that opportunity and you just don't know. Stuart is a utility player who has a creative X-factor about him."

The Lions have chosen a utility back as their third fly-half, wanting to give Sexton and Farrell as much preparation time as possible before the Test series.

"You need the 10s to have game time. It is so important for a 10 to have time in combination with the scrum half as well," Howley said.

"If you have another 10 you are possibly taking time away from the two 10s who have been selected. That was a key discussion.

"It will mean them backing up (from Saturday to midweek games) and maybe Stuart Hogg will be stepping into that position."

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