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25th Jan 2024

Stuart Hogg comments on Ireland come back to bite Scotland in new Netflix documentary

Patrick McCarry

“We’re due these f***ers one!”

The new Netflix rugby documentary, Six Nations: Full Contact, is out now. The sneaky stars of the show are Finn Russell and Scotland.

The Scots last won the Five Nations in 1999 but have yet to claim the big prize since Italy joined, making it the Six Nations. Up until last year, they had never won their opening two games of the Six Nations.

2023 saw that all change when they defeated England, at Twickenham, in their opener before flaking Wales in their second game out. The first episode focuses on Scottish playmaker, and No.10, Finn Russell.

Very tongue-in-cheek, Russell describes himself as ‘the Messi of rugby’ and many of his comments drew warm laughter at the Irish premiere of the show, held at the Guinness Storehouse on January 22. Russell and Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend have not always seen eye-to-eye, but both appear to have put their differences aside for the Six Nations cause.

After the Scots see off England, we hear the players belting out ‘Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond’ and ‘Rattlin’ Bog’ in the AWAY dressing room. Before they face Wales, Townsend tells his men:

“I don’t give a f*** about them. I don’t give a f*** what they think about us.”

That sort of talk plays out well as Scotland win 35-7. It is when the Netflix cameras catch similar remarks, before the Ireland and France games, that they are bitten on the arse.



Scotland the Six Nations nearly men

After going two wins from two in the 2023 Six Nations, Scotland travelled to France to take on a team that had just lost, in Dublin, to Ireland. There are rarely good times to play Les Bleus in France, but this was one of them. 2021’s championship had seen Scotland beat France 27-23 in Paris. They felt they could repeat history.

Finn Russell, at one point, complained about the Scottish media linking his side to a Grand Slam, only to then allow himself get carried away by the prospect.

“Scotland have never won the first two games and with us being in that position, with the media talking about ‘Scotland are going to do the Grand Slam’ and ‘Scotland are going to win it’ … you do kind of hope and you think a little about it.”

So, getting a little carried away, himself, then.

“We’ve had the belief to beat them before and, we feel, we have the players and the game to beat them, this time,” said Gregor Townsend. The squad briefing had a simple message – ‘Best performance ever in this jersey, blow these guys away.’

As it played out, the Scots had Grant Gilchrist sent off after only seven minutes and quickly fell 12-0 behind. The hosts then had Mohamed Haouas red-carded for a high tackle and it was 14 vs. 14. Two Huw Jones tries got Scotland back in the match but France held out, and even denied their visitors a losing bonus point, when Gael Fickou scored a late try.

Two weeks later and the Scots were back in Edinburgh to welcome Ireland. Fully aware that a victory over Andy Farrell’s side would put them right in the title hunt, going into the final day, the likes of Townsend and Stuart Hogg were fired up.

TOWNSEND: The last few years, I’ve heard a lot of things come out of Ireland. The Irish players, the Irish media, believe we’re soft. Believe we’re the team that’s going to go for 60 minutes, and then fade. That is not happening. We win. We have been building to a performance that delivers the best of us, and the best of us beats any team in the world.

HOGG: We’re due these f***ers one. We’re going to lift the Triple Crown, and have a shit-tonne of fun doing it, so let’s fucking go for it, aye.

How did that game go? Well, Ireland lost Dan Sheehan, Caelan Doris and Iain Henderson to injury in the first 20 minutes. Prop Cian Healy played 30 minutes at hooker when sub Rónan Kelleher could not finish out the game. Flanker Josh van der Flier was taking lineout throws.

Ireland led 8-7 at the break and the Scots stayed in the fight for 61 minutes, until Jack Conan’s try broke their resistance. Ireland won 22-7, on their way to Grand Slam glory.

Asked about that Ireland defeat at the 2024 Six Nations launch, on Monday, Townsend argued that his side had lost their lineout leader, Richie Gray, after only five minutes, so it was not just the Irish dealing with injuries.

“It’s part of success, failing,” he added.

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