IN the end, the lure of family and friends was enough to make sure Peter Horne would stay put in Glasgow. One job done, now comes his battle to try to win back a place in the Scotland side.
He is adamant his time in dark blue is far from over and he has the word of Gregor Townsend, the head coach, to back that up. What he needs to do is to be playing regularly and well, and then see what happens.
Horne doesn’t try to hide his ambition, so even though he would much rather be alongside his brother George in Rome on Saturday, his personal battle is at Scotstoun the same evening when the Dragons come to town looking for their first double over Glasgow in six years.
“I’ve just got to to keep plugging away and see what sort of opportunities come round,” he said, as he celebrated joining the 400-point club last weekend by signing a two-year contract extension with Warriors.
“I spoke to Gregor before the [Six Nations] tournament. He mentioned my lack of game time. I asked ‘is that me done, is the door closed?’ He said ‘not at all’. I turned 30 just a couple of months ago but I don’t feel old, I’m still in good nick and as fit as I ever have been.
“I’d love to be involved with Scotland but I haven’t played all that much rugby this year so I can understand what the coaches are saying.
“I try not to think too much about it and just support the boys, support George. Hopefully I can perform here and, you never know, if other people don’t take their chances I’m always there. I have to be playing well, trying to keep moving forward, and that means I can put my hand up for a future spot.”Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 27)
Clearly ambition burns bright and he belongs firmly in the camp of players who will continue to harbour Test ambitions long after the coaches have given up on them – though, clearly from Townsend’s encouraging feedback, Horne has every reason to think he is in with a shout.
He is likely to be at fly-half again this weekend and as long as Finn Russell maintains his stand-off with Townsend, there is the prospect he might be needed if injuries strike.
Club comes first
If he can organise another try-fest, as he did last weekend when Glasgow Warriors ran in eight against Zebre, then opportunities might come. Since Glasgow are going to be sending more than half their team to Rome and the Dragons are hardly affected by Test demands, it is going to be a hard task though.
“It’ll be a tougher challenge it’s another step up,” Horne agreed. “They beat us earlier this the season, so that’s a little bit of extra motivation. As well as that, we’re still chasing that play off spot.
“We are fourth in the table. We had a good weekend – Ulster got beaten and so did the Cheetahs and they play each other this weekend – so we have a chance to make a bit of ground.
“They don’t lose too many and they will be gunning for us because they didn’t play last week [game postponed because of Storm Dennis] so they will be coming off four or five weeks off and will be excited and raring to go.”
As for the new contract. There were other irons in the fire but all it took was an assurance from Danny Wilson, the incoming head coach, that he was wanted and the decision was made.
After all, family and friends count for a lot in is life. “My wife says, how lucky I am to not only have my little brother at the same club but my best friend from school as well – Fuzzy [Chris Fusaro] – and some lifelong friends like Jacko [Ruaridh Jackson] and boys like that. This is great, it’s a good club, I have a lot of ties here,” he said.
“I want to play for the club, pushing for trophies and things, so it was an easy decision with the emotional attachments as well.”