PETER HORNE admits he has no idea what position he is going to end up playing next season.
The match in Montpellier was seen as his audition for the role Finn Russell will vacate at fly-half when he leaves Glasgow Warriors at the end of the campaign and his performance earned praise from his coach – but Horne himself is taking nothing for granted.
“I just do what the boss wants,” he shrugged. “I just want to contribute to this squad. Whatever role I can do that in is fine by me. Dave [Rennie, the head coach] said it was a good chance for me to have a crack in a big pressure game. I was happy with certain things but there is still a fair bit to work on.
“I don’t know what the plan is moving forward. He has spoken to me about playing a bit more at 10, though, and I would love to do that. I enjoy playing there, it is good getting on the ball a bit more.
“I guess I have never had a proper crack at it. I have just had to take opportunities when they have come up, so it will be interesting. It is a challenge I would be more than willing to take on.”
There was certainly no question of blaming Horne for yet another
defeat in the European Champions Cup. It was all down to the depressingly familiar soft underbelly of maul defence with the additional threat of Nemani Nadolo, the 21-stone Fijian winger, who scored one try and made two, who added to the Glasgow woes.
The Scots bossed the first half, and should have been well clear at the break but in fact were only just ahead thanks to their ability to make stupid mistakes immediately after scoring and inability to defend those mauls.
So twice they scored, one a charge down for Fraser Brown, the second Horne finding space after a flowing move down the left, and each time they were hauled back to level pegging thanks to their maul issues, Nadolo crashing over from short range for the first and hooker Romain Ruffenach getting the other.
They did inch ahead thanks to Nick Grigg finishing another piece of enterprising play, but once Montpellier worked out how to give Nadolo a bit of space to work up a head of steam it was all over as he left a trail of bodies in his wake en route to setting up two tries for replacement centre Henry Immelman.
“That is another bloody game we feel we should have won,” Horne admitted.” We played some really good rugby at times. We were just not clinical enough.
“That has been the story of our European Cup. You want to win these games, be in the latter stages of these competition so we were pretty disappointed in the changing room.”
For the immediate future, the question is whether a defeat in a genuinely competitive match – Glasgow’s preparation for the 1872 Cup – trumps winning a romp – Edinburgh’s build-up.
Horne is confident: “We will go into the game battle hardened,” he pointed out. “We have had two tough games against quality opposition so we will be in a good place.
“If anything, it will give us a bit of fire in our bellies as we want to start winning some games again. They will be buzzing after two great wins against Irish and the Russian side. They will be in a good spot too so it will be a cracking game next weekend.
“If we play like we did out there [the Altrad Stadium in Montpellier] and be a bit more clinical we will be tough to beat.”
One issue probably won’t be up for grabs. The general feeling is that the Scotland fly half battle is an internal fight at Glasgow between Horne and Finn Russell, before Russell heads off to Racing 92 in the summer.
So he may well be one player who can escape the pressure of the near trial that he intercity derby has become – not that it worries him if he is under scrutiny.
“Every game, you are in the shop window,” Horne said. “The coaches will be analysing everything and going through it with a fine-tooth comb.
“Every week you pull on the jersey you have to play well. To be honest you don’t worry too much about the Scotland stuff. If you are performing well, week in week out you are in with a shout.
“If you let that stuff worry you, you end up worrying about picking up knocks and stuff like that. Vern [Cotter, the former Scotland coach] looked at these games closely.
“I am sure Gregor [Townsend, the current man in charge] will as
well. It is a good chance for us to get out there and show in big games,
in pressure moments, we can perform well.”
Source : HeraldScotland