Peter Horne excited by breakdown battle against Scarlets
Glasgow Warriors outside-half wants to set the record straight in Llanelli as he comes up against former team-mate John Barclay
Peter Horne is expecting a big battle at the breakdown as high-flying Glasgow Warriors face the Scarlets tonight.
The Guinness PRO12 returns from its traditional November break this week and pits two heavily depleted teams vying to reach the play-offs against each other at the Parc y Scarlets fortress in Llanelli.
We’ll be trying to put the pressure on them and capitalise on their mistakes
And Horne, the Warriors outside-half, is hoping for happier times after his last outing against the Welsh region saw the Scottish club fail to handle the Scarlets’ physicality in a 29-6 defeat.
“It was two seasons ago,” he said. “It was down there and we got poked a bit, so I’m looking forward to setting the record straight.
“It’s a very difficult place to play. They put a lot of pressure on you, it’s a real dogfight at the breakdown; very competitive.
“We’ve focused a lot this week on our breakdown work and trying to exploit chances.
“I don’t think the weather it meant to be that great, so we’ll be trying to put the pressure on them and capitalise on their mistakes.”
Horne, who has spent part of the PRO12 downtime this month training with Vern Cotter’s Scotland squad, could barely contain his excitement at coming up against a master at the breakdown in former Warriors back-rower John Barclay, who has been in scintillating form for the Scarlets, and starts as captain from number 8 for the second time this month.
“John is fantastic player. He was always great to play with and he’s a menace to play against,” Horne added.
“I always look forward to seeing [Warriors flanker] Chris Fusaro take on John Barclay—it’s one that really excites me.
“Fuzzy is a real terrier. I know he’ll be up for the game, and he’s got a few points to prove as well with the Scotland stuff, so it’ll be a really exciting match-up.
“The pair of them are in a similar position—both are absolutely outstanding players and I certainly don’t relish playing against either of them.
“It should be a cracking game and that battle will be interesting.”
Last season, the Warriors did the double over the West Walians, but both matches were tight affairs, and Gregor Townsend’s troops will be looking to prove the value of their squad depth as scrum-half Ali Price makes his debut and young tighthead prop Zander Fagerson makes his first start as the Warriors look to keep up their winning run, knowing they could go top of the table if the Ospreys slip up at Ulster.
“We slipped up last season against the Dragons at home,” Horne said.
“That’s fresh in everyone’s memories. It’s been brought up a good few times this week to make sure we all realise the importance of this fixture.
“Especially as the Scarlets are one of the teams that will be competing really hard with us for the top four.
“It’s certainly a massive fixture and the sort of game you want to be playing in at this time of year— you want to test yourself against the best teams and these young guys coming will be desperate to show that they can cut it with the big guys.
“We’ve got a great squad. Obviously there’s a lot of boys coming back, but everyone here will be looking to lay down a marker.”
The Warriors have also been boosted by the return of club captain Al Kellock, who missed the 17-9 win over Benetton Treviso last time out to lead a star-studded Barbarians side against Australia and Leicester Tigers.
“He’s a real rock in the team,” Horne added. “He keeps everyone calm and level-headed. It’ll be great for me at 10 to have him helping me with the decision-making.
“Even in training all the little discussions and small talk, he’s brilliant at that, and making sure the boys are all firing come kick-off.
“He’s come back with an Australian accent—I think he’s been hanging around with [former Wallabies wing] Nick Cummins for too long.
“He had a great time out there, said it was a fantastic experience and he really enjoyed it.
“He has come back buzzing again. Al never struggles for motivation—he’s that type of guy.
“Every time he puts on a jersey, he’ll give you everything. He’s desperate to get back out there for Glasgow.”