George Horne lifts lid on warm-up woes as Glasgow Warriors prepare for ‘different beast’ in semi-final

Scrum-half is 100 per cent off tee

All roads lead to Limerick for Glasgow Warriors where they will face Munster in this Saturday’s win or bust United Rugby Championship semi-final.

If Franco Smith’s side are to defeat last season’s winners they’ll need to show the same controlled intensity that got them over the line against the Stormers at the weekend and no-one personified that coolness under pressure better than George Horne.

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The Glasgow scrum-half recovered from an early mistake when he dropped the ball with the try-line at his mercy to slot over five successful kicks in the 27-10 victory over the South African side. Horne’s accuracy earned his side 12 vital points and his flawless performance off the tee was in sharp contrast to that of Manie Libbok who endured a night to forget at Scotstoun. The World Cup-winning Springboks stand-off missed two kickable penalties in the first half and two conversion attempts in the second.

Horne knows the likelihood is that he will have to deliver again if Glasgow are to win at Thomond Park and he revealed that he had struggled with his kicking during the warm-up to the Stormers game.

“It’s something I’ve always kept doing since my days of being a stand-off. I kicked for the team until last year and I’ve kept practising throughout my career,” said the scrum-half.

“Now I’ve been asked to do it again, I’m glad I did keep practising. On Saturday night they seemed to be going over for me. I missed everything in the warm-up, so thankfully I got all the sh*** ones out. It was nice to just bang them over and keep the scoreboard ticking over.

“It’s going to be a huge battle physically [against Munster] and taking our points is going to be important. In these tight games it definitely makes a difference and hopefully if I’m selected to play again, I’ll be able to knock them over again.”

Glasgow Warriors' George Horne scores a second half conversion, with Kyle Steyn assisting, during the United Rugby Championship play-off quarter-final against DHL Stormers at Scotstoun Stadium, on June 8, 2024. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)Glasgow Warriors' George Horne scores a second half conversion, with Kyle Steyn assisting, during the United Rugby Championship play-off quarter-final against DHL Stormers at Scotstoun Stadium, on June 8, 2024. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Glasgow Warriors' George Horne scores a second half conversion, with Kyle Steyn assisting, during the United Rugby Championship play-off quarter-final against DHL Stormers at Scotstoun Stadium, on June 8, 2024. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Only Leinster and Northampton Saints have won at Thomond Park this season and Glasgow are among the sides who lost there, going down 40-29 in December. But the Warriors did beat Munster in Limerick last season for the first time in nine years, a result which will stand them in good stead this weekend.

“Having belief is always nice,” said Horne who came off the bench in the 38-26 win last March. “We know how hard it is to win over there. That was the first time we had won at Thomond for a long long time. At the end of the season and in the play-offs, Munster are a different beast.

“They are the champions for a reason. They’re a top team, especially come these big knockout games. It’s going to be another massive, massive challenge for us but something we’re going to get really excited for and relish.”

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Glasgow were dogged rather than flashy against Stormers on Saturday in a controlled performance. They led 6-0 at the break through Horne’s two penalties and they never gave up that lead, even when the visitors’ Ben Loader scored the game’s first try. The Warriors responded with a try of their own from the restart from Sebastian Cancelliere after good work by the excellent Sione Tuipulotu but the Stormers came straight back when Paul de Wet darted over. That reduced Glasgow’s lead to 13-10 with 15 minutes remaining but late tries from replacements Henco Venter and Ross Thompson sealed the win and a trip to Limerick.

The other semi-final will see the Bulls take on Leinster at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday at 3pm, three hours before the Munster-Glasgow game kicks off.

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