Stuart Hogg insists he is not finished with French rugby despite celebrating in Paris like Scotland had won the World Cup.
Eight days on from his country's first ever Six Nations win in Paris, the Scots' captain returns to club duty for European kings Exeter against Lyon.
At stake is a place in the Champions Cup quarter-finals and Hogg is quick to dismiss any suggestion it is a come down after the high of Scotland’s historic achievement.
“Paris was an unbelievable weekend for us, something we are incredibly proud about,” he said.
“But we achieved something extra special in this competition last year and we want to do the exact same this year.”
Hogg went into the Six Nations finale fired up by what he saw as disrespectful comments from a French camp who, he felt, were taking victory over Scotland for granted.
Which explains his wild reaction to a win which denied France the title.
“I have been getting a bit of stick because it looks like I celebrated as if we won the World Cup, when we finished fourth in the Six Nations!” he said.
Hogg admits he was "hacked off" before a game rescheduled to Scotland’s disadvantage due to a Covid outbreak amongst French players who were later found to have broken their bubble.
“Initially, with the game being called off, we wanted the French to be safe and well,” he said.
“After that, what was coming out of their camp and what was being written in the media was really quite disappointing and as a proud Scotsman it hurt me deep down.
“Say that about Scotland, or say that about the Chiefs and I am incredibly passionate about making a difference.”
Lyon cannot say they have not been warned and they should also take note of the fullback's admission that the bold attacking ambition with which Scotland undid France is actually an Exeter creation.
“The game plan we try and play here is all about backing ourselves and playing with a huge amount of confidence,” he said. “And that is something I tried to take back to the national side.
“In years gone by Scotland have sat back and said ‘we will take the three points and be happy’, whereas now we have a belief, an ability and the confidence to go after teams.
“I know the (Exeter) coaches were very impressed with the decisions we made last week and enjoyed the fact Scotland are taking something from the Chiefs.”
Bizarrely, Chiefs have reached the knockout stages after playing just one match.
Having beaten Glasgow in their opener, they forfeited the game against Toulouse due to a Covid outbreak before the last two pool rounds were cancelled by organisers.
“It’s all or nothing now,” said boss Rob Baxter, who recalls Hogg, Henry Slade, Jonny Hill, Jonny Gray, Joe and Sam Simmonds to a full-strength team.
An Exeter win would set up a home quarter-final against four-time champions Leinster after their last-16 clash with Toulon was called off last night due to a player from the French team having tested positive for Covid.
Toulon were furious, with president Bernard Lemaitre telling Rugbyrama : “It’s disgusting. The player tested positive on Wednesday and was immediately isolated.
“The EPCR was immediately informed, but let us go to Dublin. (We have been here) for more than 24 hours.”
The club added that it “strongly deplores” the decision to pull the plug just five hours before kick-off.
Paolo Odogwu finally gets a game of rugby today when he starts for Wasps against Clermont in the European Cup.
Three months after being rewarded for his red-hot form with a place in England’s Six Nations squad he will brush the dust off his boots.
Despite the national team lacking an attacking threat, Eddie Jones did not include the barnstorming centre in a single-match day squad.
To add to Wasps’ frustration, without him they lost five successive home games and go into this afternoon’s clash as underdogs.
Boss Lee Blackett said: “We want our guys going to England but the hard thing for us is that Paolo has been here a couple of seasons and only had nine starts.
“All of a sudden he had five on the bounce, was starting to build a lot of momentum and was playing really well.
“For him to deservedly go away and then spend 11 weeks without playing.. it’s going to take him a little bit of time to get him back to the form we got him to.”
Odogwu lines up on the right wing in a side giving a Champions Cup debut to fly-half Jacob Umaga, but Alfie Barbeary misses out with a calf injury.
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