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Horne hopes for a return but faces competition

"I played those June Tests  ... so [the injury] is not a scary thing, I know exactly what I have to do and I'm doing it" ...

"I played those June Tests ... so [the injury] is not a scary thing, I know exactly what I have to do and I'm doing it" ... Wallabies centre Ben Horne. Photo: Getty Images

Wallabies centre Rob Horne had a taste of injury-free life earlier this year and he's not prepared to give it up too easily.

Horne had enjoyed one of his most consistent and uninterrupted seasons with the Waratahs and had strengthened his hold on the starting outside-centre Test position until a hamstring strain ended his Wallabies opportunities early.

The injury, incurred during Southern Districts' Shute Shield semi-final against Manly in September, might have rattled a player with Horne's injury-laden history. But the Greenacre-raised outside back said he was keeping the faith with a body that finally came good for him this year.

"I was pretty happy with the year, I felt like I'd really turned the corner on things and to be honest I feel like I ...

"I was pretty happy with the year, I felt like I'd really turned the corner on things and to be honest I feel like I still have" ... Wallabies centre Rob Horne. Photo: Brendan Esposito

''I was pretty happy with the year, I felt like I'd really turned the corner on things and to be honest I feel like I still have, it's just one of those things,'' he said.

''After last year, [playing during] the World Cup and spring tour, I got back into training with the Waratahs and played every game available to me and played 80 minutes in every game, and then I played those June Tests … so [the injury] is not a scary thing, I know exactly what I have to do and I'm doing it.''

Horne hopes to be back to full training under new Waratahs coach Michael Cheika in a month if his hamstring continues to respond well to rehabilitation.

In the meantime, he will watch his Test midfield partner Pat McCabe grow more and more comfortable with Reds centre Ben Tapuai on the Wallabies four-Test tour of Europe.

''I've played a lot of footy with Ben and he's playing good football and hopefully he plays well overseas because it's an important tour for Australian rugby, so I like to think the boys will go well and continue on,'' Horne said.

Cheika is a fan of his injured centre but said a Waratahs starting spot was an important first milestone before Horne could expect to take back the Wallabies No. 13 jersey.

''He's going to have some serious competition in our back line for places … he's really got to get the most out of what he's good at and not waste his time perhaps doing things that aren't his strong set,'' Cheika said.

''I think he's very good at picking lines to run into and then also the offload after contact … I think if we give him the shape to understand that there's always someone in a position for him to do that with, and he's very clear about where the breaks are going to come from and who he can run off, then I think we could see the best from him.''

Competition will come in the form of Tom Carter, new recruit Michael Hodge and Wallabies back Adam Ashley-Cooper.

''Obviously we've got the option of playing one of our five-eighths as second receiver as well, so if we want a second receiver-type game, Berrick [Barnes] can play there or even Ben [Volavola] … I think Rob's looking more at that second centre slot so there's going to be a good contest for that,'' Cheika said.

Volavola was yesterday revealed as the fifth and final signing to the Waratahs' extended playing squad, after successfully trialling for the spot alongside three other players.

''The three guys all worked so hard and put everything out there so it was very difficult obviously but he looked like he was a threatening player … he looked like he was capable of going up levels,'' Cheika said.

Volavola's inclusion in the squad adds further competition to the five-eighth and fullback positions, where new signings Sam Lane and Cam Crawford will compete with incumbents Barnes and Bernard Foley, as well as Ashley-Cooper.

❏ Suspended Wallaby back-rower Scott Higginbotham says his omission from the Australian squad has been hard to swallow.

Higginbotham was banned for two games for kneeing and head-butting All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw in the Bledisloe Cup.

The suspension became four matches when he was left out.

''It feels like a double punishment but they have to cover all their areas,'' he said.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all
 

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