Adam Hastings makes his mark as Glasgow young guns impress

Young stand-off Adam Hastings kicks for goal during a fine performance for Glasgow against Northampton Saints. Picture: SNS/SRU
Young stand-off Adam Hastings kicks for goal during a fine performance for Glasgow against Northampton Saints. Picture: SNS/SRU
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It can’t be easy growing up in the small pond that is Scottish rugby bearing the name of one of the greatest full-backs ever to grace the game but Adam Hastings doesn’t have any choice and the 21-year-old shouldered the burden of expectation comfortably enough on Saturday afternoon when a young Glasgow team narrowly lost to Northampton Saints by three tries to two.

The new Glasgow coach Dave Rennie singled the young stand-off out for praise after Saturday’s game, and then castigated himself for doing do.

“I thought Adam Hastings did a really good job at ten running the ship. We will go through the footage and we will see a lot of things that we can do a lot better but I was happy with the attitude.”

Asked which of the other young players caught his eye Rennie brushed off the question.

“I probably shouldn’t have mentioned Adam. I don’t 
really like singling people out, you know.

“Right across the board the attitude was good. Everything else we can work on.”

Rennie does not hand out compliments like candy and Hastings Jnr earned his spurs on the field against a strong Saints squad. He mixed up his options with kicks, long and short, running with the ball in hand and his passes fizzed across the back line.

He moved from Bath over the summer in search of game time and, after a full 80 on Saturday, the switch is already paying dividends.

“It’s always difficult in pre-season games because you’re still a bit rusty even though you’ve been doing a lot of training,” said Hastings.

“It’s a mixed bag. I think we could have put them away a bit earlier but you let a team like Northampton back into the game and they are always going to push you.

“I felt a bit more confident coming in here. It was nice to get a full 80 minutes so I could play my way into the game rather than just coming off the bench. They said, ‘it’s a trial’ before the game, ‘you are all playing for places’.

He [Rennie] said as soon as he came in at the start of the week that he is going to pick boys on how they are playing and not reputation so, as a youngster, that is good to hear.

“Obviously, going into that game you’re thinking, if I do something half decent I might get a shot in the future.”

With Finn Russell away on international duty he should see plenty of action and, on Saturday’s performance, Hastings won’t be the only one.

Rennie picked a side that was peppered with youngsters who stood up to the physical challenge pretty well.

Matt Fagerson is still a teenager but the blindside flanker stood out in the back row battle, as did the energetic openside Matt Smith.

With Stuart Hogg missing the start of the season, Rory Hughes looked the part at full-back until he retired with a head knock and his replacement Stafford McDowell did the necessary.

Scrum-half George Horne was a livewire throughout, creating the first try before scoring it, and his replacement Charlie Shiel picked up where Horne left off.

Paddy Kelly impressed at outside centre, although Italian Leonardo Sarto was a little careless with the ball, coughing up cheap turnovers on more than one occasion.

Incidentally, there were two Scots in the Saints squad: centre Rory Hutchinson and breakaway Mitch Eadie, who moved from Bristol over the summer. Both showed themselves to be useful players.

Glasgow scored two tries, including one length-of-the-field masterpiece, both of which Hastings converted.

“I have been doing a bit of kicking with Finn,” said the young pretender to Russell’s throne, “and Chris Paterson is in every Tuesday.”