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Horne making most of shock Test call-up

NZN 23/06/2017 Vince Rugari

Rob Horne has admitted he thought his Wallabies days were done before his surprise call-up for Saturday's Test against Italy at Suncorp Stadium.

The 27-year-old wasn't in coach Michael Cheika's initial squad for the June window but was a late injury replacement for Samu Kerevi, and will line up at outside centre for his first international appearance in nearly a year.

In all likelihood it will probably be his last, with Horne to move to English Premiership side Northampton next year -- making him ineligible for Wallabies selection -- and Kerevi expected to come straight back into midfield for Australia's next assignment against New Zealand on August 19.

"I suppose you never really know when your last game is, very few players get that opportunity when they know this could be it," Horne said.

"I missed out on the initial squad, so that was probably a moment there.

"It's funny how the world works. "

Horne's aim to make the most of the unexpected opportunity ties in neatly with the team's desire to put things right with an emotional and frustrated domestic support base after last week's limp defeat to Scotland.

"Finding out the other day, I got a bit emotional," Horne said.

"Now I'm just excited.

"It's completely unexpected but I can't wait to play some footy and pull on that jersey again."

Horne's inclusion is one of six changes made to the starting XV from last week, with four of them made to the forward pack.

There are two new faces among the reserves and one of them, Jack Dempsey, is poised to become Australia's sixth debutant this year.

Dempsey, who comes in for Richard Hardwick, also thought his Test chances were "grim" a few weeks ago due to his injury-interrupted season with the NSW Waratahs.

"The big issue with me was fitness, because I'd missed a lot of games. That's been something I've been working really hard on," Dempsey said.

"Cheik really wanted me to get some more game time and now he's pulled the trigger because he thinks I'm fit enough to go out there and play at Test level."

Prop Toby Smith has replaced Tom Robertson on the bench while Sam Carter, who started against Scotland, has traded places with Rory Arnold, who has been promoted to the run-on side.

The Wallabies will be expected to easily account for a weakened Azzurri but are braced for a tactical surprise from a side that bamboozled England earlier this year by not contesting rucks, allowing their players to move into offside positions.

"We mentioned it even today, we (trained it) a little bit," Wallabies scrum coach Mario Ledesma said.

"If you're alert and alive it's pretty easy to counter. We just have to be mindful of that and be ready to react quickly."

Wallabies: Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Rob Horne, Karmichael Hunt, Sefa Naivalu, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Lopeti Timani, Michael Hooper, Ned Hanigan, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Stephen Moore (capt), Scott Sio. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Toby Smith, Sekope Kepu, Sam Carter, Jack Dempsey, Joe Powell, Quade Cooper, Reece Hodge.

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