Guinness PRO12
Stuart Hogg hails his motivational mentor Steve Black ahead of the PRO12 final
ESPN Staff
May 28, 2015
Stuart Hogg celebrates for Glasgow Warriors
Stuart Hogg celebrates for Glasgow Warriors© (Photo by Jeff Holmes/Getty Images)

Stuart Hogg admits he fell out of love with rugby after missing out on Glasgow's Guiness PRO12 title run-in last year but is re-invigorated now, thanks to Jonny Wilkinson's mentor.

The 22-year-old was dropped for Glasgow's PRO12 semi-final and final last term, which they lost to Leinster 34-12, as he struggled to cope with a meteoric rise to stardom.

He had appeared for the British & Irish Lions in 2013 but his lowest ebb came eight months later as he saw red against Wales in 2014's Six Nations.

But having enlisted the help of Steve Black, former motivational support the Lions and Newcastle United under Kevin Keegan in 1992, Hogg feels far more comfortable on and off the pitch in the build up to this weekend's PRO12 final.

"At times, I just fell out of love with the game last year but I enjoy it a lot better right now," said the full-back to the Scottish Daily Mail.

"It killed me (missing out last year). Not being involved in the semi-final and then the final, the two biggest games ever for the club, left me very disappointed.

"Being young and inexperienced, emotions play a massive part but it is how you channel those emotions and being able to use them in a positive manner. Steve has helped me do that and I'm now a lot calmer than I used to be.

"I worked a lot with him during this year's Six Nations and he helps me all the time. It's so much easier when you're in love with the game and getting enjoyment out of it like I am just now.

"A few things happened that I learned from last year and Steve helped with that to the extent everything for me is concentrating on the weekend against Munster and hopefully my chance to play in the final."

The full-back no doubt has the talent to succeed at the highest level, perhaps deriving from having George Best as a distant ancestor, and he hopes the Belfast faithful remember his Northern Irish links as he steps out at the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday. Hogg will need to keep his emotions in check, as he will no doubt be a key man against Munster.

"Hopefully the majority of the Ulster fans are behind us come Saturday evening because of the family links," he added. "I certainly have family members in Belfast who are very big supporters of Ulster and others who are supporters of Glasgow at home who will come together to support us this week."

© ESPN Staff

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