Centre Peter Horne believes Glasgow’s impressive 31-19 bonus-point victory over Ospreys will kickstart the Guinness Pro12 champions’ season and has targeted winning every league game between now and the Six Nations.
After losing three out of five at the start of their title defence with 21 Warriors in total away on World Cup duty, Sunday’s win over the Welsh side at Scotstoun was much needed.
Horne was one of the World Cup stars who returned to Glasgow colours and he agreed it could act as a real spur for the club. He said: “It needs to be. We’ve talked a lot about winning every game from now until the next break for the Six Nations. So we’ll be going into every match hoping to win.
“We’ve still got boys coming back and training will really build up as they do. We need to get on a roll.”
Glasgow were leading by seven points with a minute left when they were awarded a penalty just inside the Ospreys half but there was no hesitation in kicking for the corner and pushing for that fourth try, which came courtesy of new signing Taqele Naiyaravoro crashing over at the death.
“It was great to get a good win and we showed a lot of guts at the end there to go for the corner instead of putting the game out of sight by kicking for the posts and it paid off,” said Horne.
“We were patient and got the bonus point. We are absolutely delighted. We need to make sure we build on that and get on a roll now.”
Horne was back in action for the first time since Scotland’s crushing 35-34 loss to Australia in the World Cup quarter-final, in which he scored the Scots’ first try, and he admitted it was therapeutic to be back in Glasgow colours.
“It was brilliant,” said the 26-year-old, who made a couple of thrilling searing breaks in the game. “I had a great week training and it’s been good being back in among the boys again.
“It was nice to put in a good performance. Personally, it was okay. I was quite pleased. The forwards do all the hard stuff and it makes it a bit easier for us backs.”
Despite Sean Lamont scoring the only try of the first half, created by the offloading brilliance of Fiji lock Leone Nakarawa, the Warriors still trailed to Wales stand-off Dan Biggar’s boot at half-time and Horne revealed: “At half-time we talked about keeping hold of the ball, we kept coughing it up and making stupid errors when we had them at breaking point. It was just about keeping our discipline and we knew we could score points.”
Next up for the Warriors is a trip to face Cardiff who, like the Ospreys, find themselves languishing with just one win from the first six Pro12 games.
“They’ll be hurting,” said Horne. “They lost at the weekend to Zebre so they’ll be looking to fly in front of their own fans. It’s going to be a massive challenge. Last season we really struggled there and a bit of magic at the end from Niko [Matawalu] won the game. We’ll need to make sure we are a bit better this time around.”
After that there is the start of the European Champions Cup pool campaign and a trip to Paris to face Racing 92, and the possibility of coming up against World Rugby Player of the Year Dan Carter.
Horne said: “Fingers crossed he’ll be playing. I’d imagine he’ll get a couple of weeks off. It would be amazing to play against him.
“He’s set the benchmark for every single back in the world and he is someone I’m sure the rest of our backline, as well as me, have looked up to over the years. It would be really special to play against him.”
So, exciting times ahead and Horne was effusive about the atmosphere in the camp heading into this period of the season.
“There is a real buzz around the club and a real excitement,” he said. “The first time we have all been together was last week. We really want to make sure we kick on from next season
“We’ve not had the greatest start in terms of results. The boys who have been playing have done well and been unlucky not to come out on top on the scoreboard a couple of times. It’s just about making sure we beat Cardiff this week and kick on in to Europe.”
It has been a period of flux for the club, with legendary figures like Al Kellock and Dougie Hall retiring and fan favourites Niko Matawalu, DTH van der Merwe and Sean Maitland heading for pastures new.
However, Gregor Townsend’s new signings and the youngsters breaking through have made good impacts, with American lock Greg Peterson marking his first start for the club with a try on Sunday and Naiyaravoro getting another.
Horne said: “We’re really lucky. Every year you lose some massive characters and some of your best mates but we seem to sign some really good boys who just fill the void.
“The guys who have come in like Simone [Favaro], Taqele [Naiyaravoro}, Sam [Johnson] and the others are all really top lads.
“They are down to earth, humble and fit in really well with the squad.”