Dave Rennie sees Peter Horne as a 10 in his own right but also as a “minder” and organiser outside whoever is playmaker for Glasgow Warriors.
Rennie believes that Finn Russell’s best performances for the warriors last season were when Horne was in the 12 jersey alongside him, and a similar role in bringing Hastings through is obvious, although the Cupar man will play plenty of 10 himself.
“I see Pete as a genuine 10-12, so he’ll play both,” said the Warriors coach, as he made minimal changes for the visit of Munster to Scotstoun tonight.
“Connacht was his first game because we weren’t able to use him in the pre-season and the thinking was that we’d bring him off the bench because Adam and Sam (Johnson) 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. “Pete will play 12 again this week but you’ll find that in South Africa (the Warriors head for two games there later in the month) he’ll probably start one of those games at 10.”
Horne is the kind of second five-eighth Rennie is familiar with from his homeland, he agreed.
“You need complementary skills within those positions,” he said. “It’s been quite common in New Zealand that our 12s play like 10s, in that they’ve got a good kicking game and are really good distributors.
“Our 13s ends up being a big man who can carry – although Nick Grigg (at 5’ 10”) is that big man for us! He’s a pretty aggressive ball carrier, and he and Pete complement each other really well.
“Horney’s a pretty complete player in that regard – he has a really good skill set, massive work rate and really good talker. Whenever he’s played 12 outside of Finn, Finn has played really well and I know Adam has really appreciated having him outside him.”
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With Huw Jones about to be cleared after his rehabilitation on his summer wrist surgery, Glasgow have been able to bring Alex Dunbar back slowly.
“Alex will get his chance off the bench again, we were happy with his contribution last week and he’ll be starting in Africa as well,” continued Rennie. “We’ll get a bit of a plan of how we manage these guys. He’s one of the international group that can only play about four games in succession, so we’ll play him around that.”
The visit of Munster’s powerful pack – although it doesn’t feature many of their Irish internationals is “a little bit of a litmus test for us”, admitted the head coach.
“We should find out where we are in certain areas,” he continued. “What we know is that they’ve got a big pack and ask a lot of questions of you, they’ve got a good kicking game and will apply a lot of pressure.
“But within that there are opportunities because they will kick a bit of ball away so if we’re good enough to deal with that we’ll get a lot of opportunities to attack.
“We need to be really disciplined so they can’t pin us in the corners. We were really happy with our set-piece last week, I thought our forwards were excellent at scrum time, and our lineout drive was really strong and hard, our big men really paved the way to victory.”
Rennie added that this week he had “poked a few people in the chest” about the defensive shortcomings for an hour against Connacht.
“I thought we were really strong when we finished the game but we need to defend with the same sense of desperation throughout, so there’s lots of improvement required there,” he said.
There are no changes in the back line with Adam Ashe coming at No 8, Rob Harley moving forward into the second row and Fraser Brown in at hooker.
Ali Price comes on to the bench in his first game since recovering from a groin injury and “should get half an hour” to show his sharpness, believes Rennie.
Glasgow (vs Munster, Guinness PRO14 at Scotstoun, ko 7.35p, live on Premier Sports): Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Nick Grigg, Peter Horne, DTH van der Merwe; Adam Hastings, George Horne; Oli Kebble, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson; Rob Harley, Jonny Gray; Ryan Wilson, Callum Gibbins, Adam Ashe.
Replacements: George Turner, Jamie Bhatti, D’Arcy Rae, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Ali Price, Alex Dunbar, Nik Matawalu.