With a new NSW Waratahs contract in his pocket and his name in the Wallabies mix, a spot in the Super Rugby AU finals is next on Tom Horton’s to-do list.

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The young hooker has been rewarded for a stellar debut season with a new two-year NSW deal, which follows his inclusion last week in the players of national interest (PONI) squad.

Horton said he was excited to hear from new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, who has no doubt been impressed by the 23-year-old’s accuracy at the line-out.

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“It was pretty cool to get a call from Dave and have my name mentioned along with everyone,” Horton said on Tuesday.

“I got a bit of a kick out of it.”

Weighing 97kg, Horton is no heavyweight but brings some notable athleticism to the position.

He said he purposely hadn’t tried to bulk up.

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“I’m not going to obsess over it because I don’t want to put on so much weight I lose the point of difference I think I have over other hookers, which is being able to work around the field and fit in like an extra backrower,” Horton said.

The Melbourne Rebels are standing in the way of his next goal with the teams vying for a spot in Super Rugby AU playoffs.

Playing their last game before a final round bye, the Waratahs need a win at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday night to keep their season alive.

Horton will square off with another young hooker in Melbourne’s Jordan Uelese, who was part of the Wallabies’ World Cup campaign last year.

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The Waratahs are looking to rebound from a disappointing loss to the Brumbies and Horton said they’d been focused internally rather than on the Rebels or even what was at stake.

“We’re not worrying about what the Rebels are doing we’re just keeping the focus internal and worrying about what we’re doing as a team and what we can do to get better,” he said.

“We’re treating it as must-win but as we would any game.”

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