Dave Rennie is sure that George Horne will “do as he’s told” with elder brother Peter teaming up as his half back partner for the Glasgow Warriors’ Guinness PRO14 clash with Leinster at Scotstoun tonight.
The Horne brothers will start a game together for the first time with Peter being one of 10 players released by Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend back to Dave Rennie as the warriors seek to maintain their unbeaten record against the team that beat them in Europe two weeks ago.
Horne the elder is preferred at 10 to Adam Hastings for his experience but Rennie felt that the younger brother deserved to keep his place after his man of the match performance against the Southern Kings last week, so Henry Pyrgos is only on the bench.
“I really rate Peter, he’s an outstanding player who is as good at ten as he is at 12,” said Rennie. “He’s got a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge. He’s pretty demanding as a leader but he’s a good man and he understands when to put an arm around a guy and so on, so I just think his authority will be really important in a game like this.
“I’m sure George will do what he’s told by his brother at ten. They train a lot together anyway, and we’re fortunate there because Peter and Henry have played a lot together as well.
“We thought George was excellent last week so we just wanted to back that up with a reward of starting this week.”
Callum Gibbins, returning after suffering a head knock against Leinster, will skipper the team which also sees Jamie Bhatti, Scott Cummings, Tim Swinson, Rob Harley, Nick Grigg and Ruaridh Jackson come straight back into the side from the Scotland Autumn Tests training camp.
Gregor Townsend was sympathetic towards his old club in the end, allowing 10 of his squad members back to the Warriors.
“Gregor’s been great, there have been no demands around game time,” said Rennie. “We’ve been communicated with very well. Gregor gave me a bit of insight even prior to last week’s game regarding what was likely to happen, barring injuries.
“We’re happy to rest guys when they’re required to be rested, and Gregor says he’s happy for guys to play a bit of footy even with the test window around the corner.”
Leinster have just three survivors in their starting XV from the team that won in the Champions Cup, hooker Sean Cronin, wing Dave Kearney and Aussie forward Scott Fardy.
“Obviously they’re missing a few but what we know about Leinster is that they have excellent depth,” continued Rennie. “Even when they’ve got frontline guys out the replacements are invariably international players, so we’ll expect a very similar performance from them.
“There were a couple of areas in that game the other week where we need to get better. Certainly we didn’t defend as well as we have been defending, and that hurt us.
“We were indisciplined when they put us in the corner. They were very patient, they just built pressure and got under us. We’ve learned a bit from that and will try and put that on the park.”
Glasgow Warriors (vs Leinster, Guinness PRO14, Scotstoun, tonight 7.35pm, live on BBC ALBA) Ruaridh Jackson; Lelia Masaga, Nick Grigg, Sam Johnson, Niko Matawalu; Peter Horne, George Horne; Jamie Bhatti, George Turner, D’Arcy Rae; Tim Swinson, Scott Cummings; Rob Harley, Callum Gibbins (capt), Matt Fagerson. Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Alex Allan, Adam Nicol, Lewis Wynne, Matt Smith, Henry Pyrgos, Alex Dunbar, Leonardo Sarto.