McKenzie hands Horne first start
Scrum.com
April 8, 2008

Eighteen-year-old centre Rob Horne will continue his meteoric rise in 2008 when he makes his starting debut in the Waratahs Super 14 clash with the Western Force in Perth on Saturday.

After Ben Jacobs ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in the Waratahs 37-16 victory over the Blues, Horne showed enough to convince head coach Ewen McKenzie he could handle the starting position in Jacobs' absence.

"It's only Rob's first year out of school but he's come on in leaps and bounds since joining us and keeps meeting every
challenge that's put in front of him," said McKenzie.

"We identified and signed him two years ago with a view to 2009 and beyond, but he put himself in contention during
the trials and after a few solid performances off the bench he gets his chance to start this weekend."

Horne joined the Junior Waratahs after representing Australian Schoolboys in 2007, and was selected in the
Australian team for the San Diego leg of the 2007/08 IRB Sevens series.

Enjoying his increased responsibility this week, Horne says he can't wait to get to Perth for his first starting cap.

"At the start of the year I would have been stoked with a bench spot, but to get an opportunity to start against the Force is amazing," said Horne.

"I'm really excited, but having played a few times off the bench already I now know what to expect.

"The Force have a great backline with guys like [Matt] Giteau, [Scott] Staniforth, [Cameron] Shepherd, [Drew] Mitchell -
so it's going to be a really tough game for the whole 80 minutes.

After a strong performance for Randwick last weekend, Matt Carraro has forced his way onto the bench and if used will make his NSW debut.

"Matt's had an injury interrupted pre-season, but he's overcome a groin problem and came back strongly through the
Tooheys New Shute Shield where he scored a try for Randwick on Saturday," said McKenzie.

"He's a genuine No.13 who can also cover inside centre and wing, and like Luke Burgess did the previous week he's pushed himself into the selection frame by performing well in club rugby."

A 23rd man to travel with the team will be announced later in the week.

Waratahs (1-15): Benn Robinson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Matt Dunning, Will Caldwell, Dan Vickerman, Dean Mumm, Phil Waugh (capt), Wycliff Palu; Luke Burgess, Kurtley Beale; Lote Tuqiri, Tom Carter, Rob Horne, Lachie Turner; Sam Norton-Knight.

Reserves: Adam Freier, Al Baxter, David Lyons, Beau Robinson, Brett Sheehan, Matt Carraro, Alfi Mafi.

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