The NSW Waratahs have secured the signature of Tom Horton, with the talented young hooker putting pen-to-paper on a two-year deal.
Horton’s new contract will see him remain a Waratah until the end of the 2022 Super Rugby season, joining a slew of talented young players on New South Wales’ roster for the next few seasons.
It’s been a meteoric rise to top-flight rugby for the Mosman Whales junior, who signed his first professional contract at the end of 2019.
It was an opportunity earned through some head-turning performances in club rugby for Sydney University, culminating in a Man of the Match performance in the Shute Shield Grand Final.
Horton’s 2020 began with a series of frustrating injuries, which kept him off the park and limited his opportunity to break into the Super Rugby squad.
Following the enforced COVID-19 break, Horton returned fit and available – making his professional debut in Super Rugby AU’s opening round. Following two appearances off the bench, he earned his first start and has continued in the role ever since.
NSWRU General Manager of Rugby, Tim Rapp said Horton’s contract was just reward for the work he’d put in behind the scenes to improve his game.
“Tom’s another really important signing for us,” Rapp said.
“He’s a young guy who has taken every opportunity presented and made the most of them.
“Early in the year he had some injury issues to deal with, which he worked tirelessly to get right and he’s taken that approach into the technical aspects of his game and we’re seeing the outcome of that effort and application.”
NSW Waratahs Head Coach, Rob Penney said it was fantastic to see Horton’s development over the last 12 months.
“It’s really rewarding to see Tom not only establish himself, but then begin to excel within our environment,” Penney said.
“His influence at the set piece has been brilliant for a player of his age and experience, his technical ability and accuracy has allowed our lineout to become a real weapon for us.
“Tom’s a great athlete and he’s shown us what he can do in those wide channels with ball-in-hand, the sort of contributions you love to see from your hooker.”
Horton said he was excited to remain a Waratah for the next two seasons.
“Growing up and playing rugby, you dream of representing your home state,” Horton said.
“Coming into a professional set up is exciting, to then play alongside and learn from some really experienced guys has been helpful for me.
“I’m keen to continue to improve and grow as a player and I’m glad I get the opportunity to remain a Waratah – something I’m really proud of.
“With the group of guys we have here and the vibe around the place, I can’t wait to be a part of what’s ahead over the next few years.”