James Horwill excited to press Wallabies claim in NRC
Jake Michaels
August 29, 2014
Australia's James Horwill poses during the Wallabies Captain's Run, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, November 15, 2013
James Horwill hopes to be in gold once again when the Wallabies host South Africa in Perth © Getty Images

James Horwill hopes a strong showing in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) this weekend will catapult him back into the Wallabies line-up.

Wallabies coach Ewan McKenzie will be looking to make changes ahead of their clash with South Africa in Perth on September 6, and he has hinted at "strategic" choices after being humiliated 51-20 by the All Blacks in Auckland last weekend, which means Horwill - among other players on the Wallabies fringe - could return. But the former Wallabies captain, 29, says the prospect of a call-up still doesn't sweeten the loss.

"Whether you are playing or not you never want to see the team lose," Horwill told ESPN. "But for sure I'm looking forward to possibly getting another opportunity where I'll certainly be making the most of it."

The Queensland Reds skipper will make his NRC debut when Brisbane City face Perth Spirit in Western Australia on Sunday, and he praised the competition structure saying it's a great stepping stone for players who are finding their feet.

"The National Rugby Championship is a great initiative and something that Australian rugby desperately needed. It's a fantastic launching pad for younger players and it also helps uncover hidden talent as a third-tier competition. From what I've seen so far, it has been really entertaining and a great spectacle for the fans. So I'm looking forward to being a part of it."

While Horwill is relishing the opportunity to get back on the park, he hasn't singled out any specific areas in which he needs to perform strongly.

"I think every time you go out you always have things you can improve on. I haven't played for six weeks now so the main thing will be to get back to match fitness as improvement will come from that."

The prospect of a Wallabies call-up is certainly sitting atop Horwill's to-do-list, but there is plenty more the former Australia captain is looking forward to in the coming months.

"I want to get back and play in the Rugby Championship and help the Wallabies to a few wins. Then we've got the end-of-year tour where we'll come up against some great opposition before preparing for the World Cup later next year.

"For me it's important to continue playing but just as important that the Wallabies are getting wins."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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