NORTH Berwick rugby league ace Matt Hogg is “hugely honoured” after being named captain of Scotland’s Nines team.

Hogg will lead the national side’s abbreviated team – nine players are in each side instead of the usual 13 – at the Commonwealth Under-23 Championships in Australia next month.

It caps a fine few months for the Newcastle University student and Edinburgh Eagles player, who was a key member of the Scotland squad in the Student World Cup in Sydney last July.

This, though, is not be the first time he has led a national side – Hogg, who lives on Stair Park, captained the U19s last year.

And on his new role, the North Berwick ace said: “I’m hugely honoured and excited to captain the team at such a prestigious tournament.

“I’ve had some experience of being captain in the Scotland set-up with the under-19s but this opportunity is the highlight of my rugby career so far.

“I’m now just excited to meet up with the squad and get stuck into our preparation and pulling on the Scotland jersey in the tournament.”

Hogg, who turns 20 on Saturday, admitted it was something of a surprise when head coach Nathan Graham asked him to take on the captaincy.

He told Courier Sport: “It came as a bit of a surprise as I’m one of the younger ones in the squad but I’ve had some experience captaining.

“I’m just excited to lead the boys and represent my country and put in the best performance possible, both individually and as a team, and come away from the tournament proud of what we have achieved.”

Hogg is delighted with all he has achieved in just two years of playing the sport, having swapped rugby union for the 13-man code.

The ex-North Berwick RFC player said: “Considering I only started playing rugby league two years ago I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved and it just shows that if you put the effort in and are willing to learn you’ll get the rewards.

“I hope that the tremendous experiences that I have had so far playing rugby league for Scotland acts as an inspiration to more young rugby players in Scotland to give rugby league a go.

“If you are good enough, work hard enough, care enough and are prepared to learn from some great coaches and staff, you can have some great experiences.”

Scotland Nines head coach Graham said: “Matt has been highly committed to Scotland rugby league, having come through the youth development days and playing U19s and Student rugby.

“During the Student World Cup, I thought he was one of our standout performers.

“He has developed well and has added a running threat to his game to go with his kicking and organisational abilities. At 20 he has a mature head on his shoulders and I know he will lead the squad with passion and pride.”