George Horne “steals” the Glasgow Warriors forwards’ tries, but his team-mate since schooldays Zander Fagerson still forgives him.
The tight-head and the scrum-half have played in the same teams since they were in their mid-teens, all the way up from the Strathallan School first XV, through age-groups at district and international level, Scotland Under-20s, and now for Glasgow and for Scotland.
All the way the diminutive No 9 has been a serial try-scorer, his brace at Zebre last week taking him to an astonishing 24 tries in 44 appearances – just 21 of them starts – for the Warriors.
George also has six tries in 10 appearances for Scotland, including the hat-trick against Russia in the Rugby World Cup, and he’s not missed a beat since returning from Japan.
“He has been brilliant,” said Fagerson, in preparation for the Heineken Champions Cup match against Sale at Scotstoun tomorrow. “I’ve played with George for a long time, right back at school when he was my fly-half in a pretty good team.
“He is always a character on and off the pitch. I absolutely love playing with him, he brings something different to the team. He steals too many of the forwards’ tries, but I let him off with it.
“He is a great guy, he brings an edge to training and always gives his all. He sets standards for the group.”
All the young internationalists who returned vfrom Japan perhaps not having had as much rugby as they would have liked have hit the ground running for the Warriors, but Zander believes there’s much more to come.
“We had quite a tough start to the season and things didn’t go our way,” he said. “When I came in I tried to do what I could to help the team.
“Everyone who came back in had a big impact. Adam Hastings has been great, full of energy and really getting the boys going. George as well.
“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves because we’ve not really thrown any punches yet. Those last two performances were wins but were not as clinical as they could have been and there were a lot of mistakes.
“We have massive potential in this group and I have all the confidence in the boys who get picked at the weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.”
Fagerson is looking forward to locking horns against English Premiership opposition, having enjoyed recent European clashes.
“I remember when we played Leicester a few years ago, some of them were giving it big licks in the press. But it was a good game and we matched them physically and I don’t really think they had a plan B.
“There will always be a tough battle against Premiership teams and French teams as well. When it comes to the Champions Cup, everyone goes up a level.
“Training has a bit more bite, a bit more intensity, which is great. It’s a big competition, a big stage and we want to do ourselves proud.”
Fagerson certainly wants no rest just now, given his injury issues last season.
“I’ll play whenever I can, I’ll play every week if Dave (Rennie) lets me,” he said. “As long as I’m getting picked I’ll tell him I want to play as much as possible.
“I missed a bit of last season so I’m not fed up of rugby yet. I’m still enjoying it.”