Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend confident of Peter Horne switch

Peter Horne

Pro12 semi-final: Leinster v Glasgow Warriors

Venue:
RDS, Dublin
Date:
Saturday, 11 May
Kick-off:
19:35 BST
Coverage:
Live on BBC ALBA, BBC Radio Scotland & BBC Sport website

Glasgow Warriors coach Gregor Townsend insists dropping Ruaridh Jackson for the inexperienced Peter Horne is not a gamble for Saturday's Pro12 semi-final against Leinster.

Jackson will start on the bench, while Horne, 23, will play at stand-off for only the second time this season.

"It's a selection I believe will help us win the game," said Townsend.

"He's played at 10 in our last two games, so we're expecting him to deliver another good performance."

Warriors narrowly lost out to Leinster in last year's semi-final and came close in a 22-17 defeat at the Royal Dublin Showground in March but suffered a 6-0 defeat back in November at Scotstoun.

Given Glasgow's recent results, including emphatic wins against Connacht and Ospreys, Townsend is confident Horne will play a crucial role in Saturday night's semi-final encounter in the Irish capital, although their hosts are not to be underestimated.

"I've been impressed with Peter at 12 and 10," said Townsend. "He had a cracking game when we were playing Ulster and there's a number of things we've learned from both recent games.

"Both were close matches and we had chances at the end of both games to go and win.

"Leinster will be strong, they've got their full team out tonight - I think they've got six British Lions.

"They're playing at home and they've never lost a semi in the last seven or eight years."

Glasgow have been knocked out at this stage of the Pro12 twice in the last three years, but Townsend is heartened by recent performances against the star-studded Irish giants.

"We know how tough it's going to be," said Townsend. "We've really improved and I think we can put in a good performance tonight.

"The fact that we were here six weeks ago and came close to winning is great for the mindset - and the fact that we were over in Connaught last week and we got a very good win.

"We've been gearing up to this match as soon as we got that victory against Ospreys and we've been training really hard. The squad will give everything."