Currently, an injury to Finn Russell has to be Scotland’s biggest concern as there is an obvious drop off in talent in anyone behind him.
Behind Finn Russell
Peter Horne is probably who Townsend would look to next; this is often what we saw happening during his time at Glasgow Warriors. Dave Rennie has continued this of late, with Horne seemingly 2nd choice at 10. Whilst Horne is an experienced head and obviously talented he is not the same level as Russell but looks to play in the same style.
Other options could be Ruaridh Jackson, who has been terrific since returning to Glasgow (however mostly at 15 in the absence of Hogg), or Greg Laidlaw. Laidlaw may struggle to win back his spot at 9 but can also cover 10.
You raised the question about Hogg at 10, however, I do not see this happening. His talent has pulled him through a few games at club level but based on those performances I would be fearful about him being found out at international level at 10.
A real long shot would be the 21-year-old Adam Hastings (son of Scotland legend Gavin Hastings). He has joined Glasgow this season and has had several opportunities so far in which he has really impressed. Hastings looks like the long-term replacement when Russell leaves for Racing 92 at the end of the season.
He looks to play quickly, close to the line and always ready to take a risk. However, he is still massively untested at club level and we will probably not see him force his way into that Scotland team until next season at the earliest (6 Nations 2019). Although playing in what is essentially the Scotland back-line at Glasgow will play in his favour. The World Cup for Hastings still seems very unlikely unless injuries hit or he has a great run of form.
To sum up, the options at 10 are Russell, Horne, Jackson, Laidlaw, Hogg and Hastings.
Author: Stuart Wright