​Ex-Howe pair George Horne and Matt Fagerson out to avoid repeat of Scotland rugby debut disaster against USA six years ago

George Horne during a Scotland training session this month at Edinburgh's Oriam (Pic: Ross MacDonald/SNS Group/SRU)George Horne during a Scotland training session this month at Edinburgh's Oriam (Pic: Ross MacDonald/SNS Group/SRU)
George Horne during a Scotland training session this month at Edinburgh's Oriam (Pic: Ross MacDonald/SNS Group/SRU)
​Former Howe of Fife players Jamie Ritchie, George Horne and Matt Fagerson all made their international debuts during Scotland’s summer tour of 2018, but only one got off to a winning start.

​Edinburgh blindside flanker Ritchie, 27, picked up his first cap agaist Canada in Edmonton in June of that year, playing for the full 80 minutes of a 48-10 victory against their hosts.

Things didn’t go so well for scrum-half Horne, 29, and No 8 Fagerson, 25, when the Glasgow Warriors pair made their international bows against the USA in Houston a week later, however, as a side captained by Stuart Hogg and also featuring Horne’s elder brother Peter, now an assistant coach with Scotland, lost out 30-29.

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That was the Scots’ only loss to the Americans ever and their hosts’ first victory against a top-tier team since 1924.

Ritchie is now on 49 caps, Horne on 30 and Fagerson on 45.

Horne – taken on off just after the hour mark, along with Fagerson – can still recall that inauspicious inaugural international outing all too well and is determined to avoid a repeat performance in Washington DC this Friday, telling the Times this week: “I certainly do remember that. It was not the ideal start.

“You have the dream of winning your first cap alongside your brother and you achieve that, but the, as a competitive bunch, losing the game just totally spoiled the occasion.

“There are a few of us who are survivors from that tour who lost that game and we’re desperate to put that wrong right this weekend.

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“That whole experience is a reminder of the need to be razor-sharp in everything we’re doing.

“The USA have a lot of good individual players who can cause us a lot of trouble.

“If we’re not in the right place and don’t put on our best performance, they are more than capable of beating us.”

Kick-off tomorrow is at 11.30pm.

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