Peter Horne was voted the Glasgow Warriors’ Unofficial Fansite’s Player of the Year for season 2014/15. In a poll glasgowwarriors.com’s forum users gave Pete 42% of the vote, edging out closest challengers Josh Strauss (23%) and Jonny Gray (18%). Peter played a significant part in the Warriors success, making more starts than any other player and showing his considerable skills in both attack and defence.
Peter started more matches than any other Glasgow Warrior – a Stortoni-esque 25 during the championship season and incidentally the highest total by any player in the era of Toonie Tombola. He had the second-highest number of appearances, featuring in 27 out of 30 games. Fans at Scotstoun got used to seeing Pete play – he was only absent for one home match all season (plus two away games). In fact since the end of October he only missed one game for Glasgow – and that was only because he was playing for Scotland the same day! He totalled 1,736 minutes of game time (2nd highest in the squad and the most by any back).
In his 8 starts at fly half he was partnered with Niko Matawalu on 4 occasions, twice with Henry Pyrgos and twice with Ali Price so he saw all kinds of variations in service, control and general madness while trying to fill in for the good of the team. In his more familiar role in the 12 shirt he made 17 starts and 2 substitute appearances. During the early part of the season he was able to reform his very fruitful partnership with Alex Dunbar on 6 occasions. He also saw service alongside Mark Bennett (three times) and Sean Lamont (twice). However it was his partnership with Richie Vernon that was to really benefit the Warriors. Two early season appearances didn’t hint too much at what was to come but a highly successful outing against the Blues was the first of six successive games as they controlled the midfield for the Warriors, culminating in outstanding displays from both players against Munster in the Pro 12 Grand Final.
As Long As I Breathe, I Attack
Pete was a significant contributor with ball in hand. 99 points in total put him second behind Finn Russell as the side’s top scorers and he had the highest single game total with 24. His 6 five-pointers were good for third place in terms of tries scored. He also added 4 assists, which was fourth equal highest among the 2014-15 squad. Pete’s raison d’être this year was his tireless work in following excellent support lines as these 2 tries against Cardiff illustrate:
He was also one of the best passers of the ball in the squad, strong off both hands and able to create time and space for his teammates. This effort against Treviso, executed at full pace, was perfectly weighted for Stuart Hogg to run on to:
He was to the fore, contributing the opening points of the 2014/15 campaign with his try against Leinster, as the side scored freely through the early season with 21 tries in their opening five games. It was during the second Test window of the season that he really started to catch fire. A try double and 20 points in a man of the match showing away against Zebre lead the Warriors back to the top of the league at the start of the Six Nations. The sequels to this Italian Job were much more challenging; a Six Nations appearance in place of the Finnocent One ended in ignominious defeat; and six days later his home appearance in the return fixture against Zebre lasted only 21 minutes before he had to retire injured.
A less mentally strong player may have seen their form suffer. Peter’s response was to put in his best showing of the season in the 10 shirt at the graveyard of many a Warriors’ sides ambitions – the RDS in Dublin. Near the end of a breathless game it was Horne’s pass that put Glenn Bryce in for the 4th try and his dead-eyed, nerveless kick (a fifth success from five attempts) from close to the touchline that levelled the game and allowed Glasgow to return home with 3 points and still top of the league.
He followed up in the next game at home to Cardiff with another man of the match performance (shared with Big Al on the night of celebrating his retirement) and also took home the match ball after his first ever pro hat trick.
Invincibility Lies In The Defence
The man from Fife was also key to the team’s defensive efforts. His 161 tackles were 47 more than any other Glasgow back made last season. He made 7.4 tackles per 80 minutes with a tackle completion of 89% – both third among all backs. It was his defensive efforts that were key in the playoffs – his 26 tackles were more than any other player in the post season (yes, even Jonny Gray!) Both Ulster and Munster targeted the midfield but were repelled by sterling efforts as a stingy defence and clinical attack took the Warriors to their first ever Pro 12 Championship.
The Complete Player
All in all it was an immense season from a player who has shown he has the full range of skills at his disposal:
- an 80% goal kicker who also has a cultured left boot for kicking from hand as a primary or secondary option;
- a tenacious, consistent defender;
- a scoring threat with ball in hand who can create tries from nothing for himself or others;
- a gifted playmaker who takes the ball to the line and brings others into the game;
- an excellent support runner who’s often the first on the shoulder to link or score.
Peter Horne has all these qualities but more than that he can adapt the way he plays to suit what the team requires on any given match day. A man for all seasons then, but in particular this season just past where he played an indispensable part in the march to the top of the table and the playoff victories that saw the Glasgow Warriors crowned Pro 12 Champions.
Pete – as our player of the season, we salute you!
A version of this article originally appeared at glasgowwarriors.com – the number one source for news and comment on Glasgow Warriors. Sign up for the forum and have your say on what’s happening at Scotstoun!