Pete Horne backs Ross Thompson to learn from Benetton set-back

Glasgow Warriors face Edinburgh in this season's 1872 Cup decider at Scotstoun on Friday night

Ross Thompson will learn from his mistakes says mentor Pete Horne. Image: © Craig Watson -
Ross Thompson scored 10 points in Glasgow's defeat by Lyon. Image: © Craig Watson -

PETE HORNE says he has no doubts about Ross Thompson being able to bounce back after the stand-off experienced his first real adversity in professional rugby since breaking into the Glasgow Warriors team at the turn of the year.

The 22-year-old struggled to get the game back under control after Warriors got off to a disastrous start against Benetton Treviso two weekends ago, and it was only when veteran Ian Keatley took over with half an hour left that Warriors managed to get a foothold, with three late tries adding a veneer of respectability to the final 46-19 scoreline.

“Ross is doing all right,” said 31-year-old Horne, who previously coached Thompson at club level with Glasgow Hawks, and has now taken the youngster under his wing at Scotstoun. “I spoke to him straight after the game and said: ‘Look, we all have days like that’.

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“With the nature of his position he will come under the spotlight a lot more, but he seemed in a pretty good place. He made a couple of mistakes and decision-making errors but it’s nothing he can’t fix, and it’s probably the first time he has really come under the pump so it’s good that it happened over in Treviso in a game where there is not too much on the line.

“He will learn so much more from a game like that. I have been in games in similar positions where it gets to the point you are thinking: ‘If I pass it, people are dropping it; if I kick it, they are running it back; what should I do?’

“You kind of lose sight, you start worrying about things rather than narrowing your focus on the next job. It is sometimes just a case of doing something simple like recalling a play that you really like and going with that, to just try to get a bit of confidence back.

“That’s professional rugby in a nutshell, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster. The highs are obviously great, and I think sometimes when a player first break on to the scene and everything goes for him then you have got to let him ride with that, but you see the character of the person when all of a sudden you have a couple of tough games or when something doesn’t go your way.

“Ross is a smart kid, it’s not like he is 18 or 19 and has the world at his feet,” Horne added. “He has had to be patient and go through various phases of his career just to get his shot. He has done his time at club level, he has played his under-20s, went back and had a great year with Ayrshire Bulls in Super6 last year, and he didn’t have a sniff for Warriors the first couple of months of this season. So, it’s not like it has just been handed on a plate, he has always had to work really hard for it, and that will make it easier to bounce back when something doesn’t go his way.

“He trained really well last week and was honest in the team reviews about a couple of things he could have done better. He is very much looking to bounce back, and I have got no doubt that he will against Edinburgh this weekend.”

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As much as he clearly enjoys the mentoring role he has developed with Thompson, Horne is desperate to get some game-time of his own on Friday after being given just 17 minutes since returning to action in mid-March following three months out injured.

“It’s tough because I have barely played since being involved in the first nine games of the season,” he said. “I had my head knock, my hamstring, and played that one game off the bench against the Dragons, but I have not really played rugby since the start of December.

“So, I imagine there will potentially be a bit of rustiness when I get back playing but, hopefully, I can tap into the experience I have gained over the last 13 years and fingers crossed it won’t take too long to get back playing well.

“It’s been frustrating with injury and not getting selected, but you have to come in and do what you can to help train the team well. I’d be a hypocrite if I wasn’t to do that as it used to frustrate me when I was playing every week and some of the others just switched off or took a time-out when they weren’t involved.

“It’s just about making sure you’re not too far away from it. You’re engaged in meetings and trying to bring up points. I’ve got a few miles on the clock, so you try to be approachable for the young lads if they’ve got anything to discuss.

“I’ve got a good relationship with Ross and have chats with him after games and make sure he’s prepped in the lead-up. I’m just trying to be as helpful as I can. At times like this the last thing the coach needs is for you to go in the cream puff and throw your toys out of the pram.”

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.