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Rennie favours Horne over Russell for 1872 Cup first leg

Peter Horne will start ahead of Finn Russell in Saturday's 1872 Cup first leg.
Peter Horne will start ahead of Finn Russell in Saturday's 1872 Cup first leg.

Peter Horne will start for Glasgow in the 1872 Cup first leg on a choice of form rather than any pre-planning ahead of Finn Russell’s depature, insisted head coach Dave Rennie.

With Stuart Hogg, Calum Gibbins and Ryan Wilson all still absent through injury – Hogg and Wilson will miss next week’s second leg at Scotstoun as well – Rennie has opted to do without Scotland’s first choice stand-off from the start against Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield.

Rennie has opted for Horne because the coaching team were pleased with his 60 minutes against Montpellier in France last week, even if it was a game that got away from the Warriors in the end.

“I am just trying to reward performance,” said the Kiwi. “We were happy with Pete, he controlled the game very well. He did everything we asked of him so we want to reward that.

“It is not even so much about looking at just this game. We are fortunate we have got two men who play well in that position and both will play some part against Edinburgh.

“We have no perception about Peter being in the starting team from now on either. We are keen to award his good performance from last week and that’s why he starts.

“Finn is great, he understands the thinking. We have said from the start we want to reward performances, like George Horne who has been getting cracks in ahead of Henry Pyrgos. He is an international half-back and we have done that in a number of positions.”

Wilson’s absence to add to that of Gibbins and Adam Ashe means Rob Harley makes an early return from injury, and Stuart Hogg isn’t now expected back until the final two rounds of European games in the New Year, but the Warriors have been shaking off injury issues all the way through their unbeaten run.

“We have set a bit of a standard because we’ve used a hell of a lot of players in those ten games with injury and unavailability,” added Rennie.

“It’s something we are super proud off and we want to keep building on. I know Edinburgh would love to be the team to stop that run so it makes it all the more intriguing.

“We are aware that 11 games in a row unbeaten is the league record, I think one of our `train spotters’ might have mentioned it.

“But it’s not necessarily a motivating factor. Whatever we end up with we end up with and we will look back on it, but it’s not something we have really talked about.”

It’ll be Rennie’s first time coaching the derby and at BT Murrayfield, and he’s looking forward to it/

“There is an edge about the team this week, it is mates against mates. They know a lot about each other and there is a fair bit of history.

“Edinburgh came up here in the last round of last season and made a bit of a statement. We have come out of a couple of weeks that makes us battle hardened and looking forward to using that as a benefit.
“They will have a lot of confidence, I think they have won 8 of their last 9 and they are playing a really good brand of footy.

“Certainly if you ask Kenny Murray, our defence coach, he has had a lot more work to do this week planning their demise. In previous years it was, deal with their drive, their box kick and their kick chase game. So there are a few more challenges now but we are certainly up for it.”

Glasgow team: Ruaridh Jackson; Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Alex Dunbar, Lee Jones; Peter Horne, Ali Price; Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson; Jonny Gray (capt), Scott Cummings; Rob Harley, Matt Smith, Samu Vunisa.

Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Oli Kebble, Siua Halanukonuka, Kiran McDonald, Chris Fusaro, Henry Pyrgos, Finn Russell, Niko Matawalu.

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