Head Coach Ewen McKenzie has named 18-year-old Rob Horne in the HSBC Waratahs squad for Friday’s Super 14 local derby with the ACT Brumbies.
The NSWRU Media Unit reports that Horne is on standby for fullback Lachie Turner who injured his shoulder in Saturday’s victory over the Highlanders.
In his first year of senior Rugby, the exciting Southern Districts centre was impressive during the pre-season with the Waratahs and was recently rewarded with a place in the Australian Sevens squad.
“Lachie hass a good chance of playing, but if his shoulder doesn’t come through Rob will be ready to go,” said McKenzie.
“Rob played really well in the trials for us and went to the Sevens in California a few weeks ago which was good for his maturity as a player.
“Whether he plays this week or not, it’s going to be good for him long term to be training with the starting XV.”
McKenzie has also bracketed Al Baxter in an extended 24-man squad, with his recovery from a round two concussion to be monitored throughout the week.
“We’re still pretty hopeful of fielding a consistent starting side again, but we’re preparing with a couple more players in the squad just to be safe,” said McKenzie.
“There’s still a bit of a question mark over Al [Baxter] and Lachie [Turner], but they’re both really keen to play and we’ll give them every opportunity to prove their fitness.
“This is a massive game for us, not just because it’s a local derby. The Brumbies are coming off two wins and we’ve got the bye next week, so it’s important for us to go into the week off with plenty of momentum.”
Starting XV: 1. Sekope Kepu, 2. Adam Freier, 3. Matt Dunning, 4. Will Caldwell, 5. Dan Vickerman, 6. Rocky Elsom, 7. Phil Waugh [c], 8. Wycliff Palu, 9. Brett Sheehan, 10. Kurtley Beale, 11. Lote Tuqiri, 12. Tom Carter, 13. Ben Jacobs, 14. Timana Tahu, 15. Lachie Turner/Rob Horne
Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17. Al Baxter/Dan Palmer, 18. Dean Mumm, 19. Beau Robinson, 20. Luke Burgess, 21. Sam Harris, 22. Alfi Mafi.