By Mark Gleeson
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Stuart Hogg, who was named captain for the first match of the British and Irish Lions' tour of South Africa, will turn to injured Alun Wyn Jones for advice but also take inspiration from past skipper Martin Johnson.
Hogg will captain the Lions against the Gauteng Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday in a role that might have gone to Jones, who was appointed tour captain but pulled out after a shoulder injury in the warm-up test against Japan.
Hogg said the veteran Welsh lock would still be a long-distance influence and that he would call him for advice before the game.
But when asked who came to mind when he thought of a Lions captain, he plummed for Englishman Johnson, who skippered their winning tour of South Africa in 1997.
"After watching the '97 tour video about a million times, and being able to quote 90% of it, I’d probably say Martin Johnson. I absolutely loved it," he said of the documentary Living with the Lions.
"The thing for me about being captain is that it doesn't change anything that you do. You go out there and be your own man, you be yourself and for me I’ve never been one to shout or boss people around," he told a news conference on Thursday.
"I like to lead by the way I perform. I just need to go out there and do my job. I’m a very passionate player and hugely honoured and excited for this challenge ahead.”
Hogg’s selection and appointment comes exactly a week after he was a substitute in the Premiership final for Exeter Chiefs, coming on and scoring a try but seeing his side dethroned in a narrow defeat to Harlequins at Twickenham.
"It didn’t quite come off for us at the weekend which is bitterly disappointing but I’ve had to draw a line under that very quickly and get on with my next job and I’m very fortunate to be involved this weekend, looking forward to getting out there and expressing myself and hopefully contributing to a successful start of this Lions tour."
(Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)