Adam Hastings hails fellow Glasgow Warriors newbie George Horne

Glasgow Warriors fans were given a glimpse of the future last weekend when Ali Price, Henry Pyrgos and Finn Russell were all rested, meaning that the starting half-back partnership to take on the Southern Kings at Scotstoun on Friday night consisted of 21-year-old stand-off Adam Hastings and 22-year-old scrum-half George Horne.

Glasgow Warriors' Adam Hastings in action against Southern Kings. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Glasgow Warriors' Adam Hastings in action against Southern Kings. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS

Both players were making their first competitive starts for the club, but any nerves the precocious duo might have felt were not evident as they orchestrated a convincing 43-13 victory for their team. The first 30 minutes might have been scrappy, but once the much-changed team found their groove, the Warriors were commanding.

A key moment in the match came immediately after Niko Matawalu’s 31st-minute score had put the home team into a 12-6 lead. Straight from the restart, Hastings launched a piercing breakout from his own 22, which was supported by Horne, and ultimately led to Nick Grigg scoring the team’s third try.

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A few minutes later, Horne, right, took a quick tap penalty from under the shadow of his own posts to break 50 metres up-field, and would surely have sent Matawalu in for his second try in as many minutes had his pass gone to hand.

All of a sudden, the tone had been set by two of the most inexperienced players on the park, and the home side never really looked back.

“We have not had too much professional experience. Obviously, George has a bit more than me, and he’s been away with the Scotland 7s squad, but it is nice having someone in the same boat as you. As half-backs we can rely on each other, we can talk and we get on pretty well,” says Hastings.

“George prefers to run the ball instead of kicking, as do I, so that is nice,” he adds. “It is great that we are clicking straight away.”

The pair are clearly suited to head coach Dave Rennie’s rugby philosophy, which dictates that players should have the freedom to take risks and express themselves, so long as they don’t lost sight of their responsibility to the whole team.

“If it is on anywhere on the pitch, Dave tells you to have a crack. My natural instinct is to do that but I know, if it goes wrong, you can be in a lot of trouble. In the professional game, if you cough it up that close to your line, you will cough up the points as well. So, you just have to pick your moments. We fortunately picked them quite well last weekend, so it was happy days,” said Hastings.

“We are not looking to play from our 22 all of the time, but, if it is on, we will do it. We are not scared to do it and have 
given the go-ahead to do it.”

Next up for Hastings, Horne and their Warriors team-mates is a rather more daunting showdown against Leinster at Scotstoun tomorrow night. Both sides will be without the vast majority of their international contingent but have the strength in depth to produce a high-octane 80 minutes.

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It has the potential to be the biggest challenge the Warriors have faced yet in an undefeated league campaign so far. Leinster came out on top when the two sides met in the European Champions Cup a fortnight ago, but Hastings reckons his side are ready to bite back.

“They are a quality side and have proven it over a number of years, so it is definitely a step up in attack and defence.

“They are a big physical team and like to try to bully the opposition. They were successful in parts doing that against us two weeks ago, so we are expecting more of the same. But we want to right some wrongs this weekend,” said Hastings.

“As you saw on Friday, there is a group of young guys itching to be involved and you will see more of the same in the next few weeks.”

Having missed five weeks with a thigh gash, suffered when he appeared as a replacement against Connacht in the opening game of this league campaign, Hastings is clearly intent on making up for lost time. With Horne at his side, it could be explosive.