Peter Horne was one of the candidates to replace Finn Russell as Glasgow’s stand-off playmaker but early indications are that he will continue to be deployed at inside centre as a guiding hand outside the half-back pairing of his younger brother George and the emerging Adam Hastings.
The 28-year-old takes the No 12 jersey for tonight’s crunch early-season visit of Conference A arch-rivals Munster at Scotstoun and the player, who is used to flitting between the two positions, is happy to do so.
“Yeah, I don’t think too much has changed,” said the Fifer. “I don’t think I was meant to play last weekend at Connacht if Sammy [Johnson] had been fit [due to international player management]. Nothing much changes with me. I will just do the job and try to do it the best I can. I have done a lot of work at ten and in pre-season too but I have also done a lot of work at 12. I don’t think I will be pigeon-holed with one position. We will see how it goes.”
Head coach Dave Rennie, who makes only two changes to the team who won 27-26 in Galway, with Fraser Brown returning at hooker and Adam Ashe in the back row, certainly has no intention of pigeon-holing the versatile Horne.
“I see Peter Horne as a genuine 10-12, so he’ll play both,” said the Kiwi. “Ultimately, last week was his first game because we weren’t able to use him in the pre-season.
“The thinking was that we’d bring him off the bench because Adam and Sam had had a bit of continuity, but with Sam injured we were keen to have Pete out there so that his experience could help Adam.
“He’ll play 12 again this week but you’ll find that in South Africa [against Cheetahs and Kings] he’ll probably start one of those games at ten. You need complementary skills within those positions. It’s been quite common in New Zealand that our 12s play like tens, in that they’ve got a good kicking game and are really good distributors.”
Rennie described the match with the always powerful Munster as a litmus test for his side who have had doubts cast on their pack strength. Horne is viewing things from a back’s perspective but agrees that it is a huge encounter that can set the tone for the campaign.
“It doesn’t take much to get up for a Munster game. It is Test match intensity and they will be physical,” he said. “They want to outmuscle you and lay down a marker. We have to stand up and show what we are all about. We maybe got a bit stick last season for being soft in the underbelly at times. I guess there were times we lost games we should have won and did not defend all that well.
“We are not too worried about what everyone is saying but within our four walls we want to show real dogged defence this year and make sure we are coming out and putting something out on the field that the fans can get behind and see a bit of themselves out there.”
Peter is getting used to taking the field alongside his 23-year-old brother George now, be it for club or country, and paid tribute to a journey which has more backstory than the overnight sensation surface. “I am delighted George is flying and hopefully he can have a good year,” said big brother. “There will be a lot more eyes on him this season. That is a challenge he has to rise up to. We have discussed things and he has certain things to help him with his game so I am sure he will rise to it and have another good year.
“A lot of folk think he is a lot younger than he is. He’s done it the hard way. He worked hard. He was called too small, he wasn’t whatever and he went away and was at London Scottish and was on the bench a fair bit and it has not been easy, but he has kept working and kept his head down and thankfully he got his reward.
“Like I said to him,’that is the easy bit done’. He has had a good year and it is time for him to show what he is made of and to show he was right to earn his caps and so on.”