James Mortimer 27.Mar.2012Getty Images
Horne, rated in Australian circles as arguably the premier tackling centre in the country, is actually tracking as the worst defender of 2012, with more missed tackles than any other player so far this campaign.
He will want to lift this, heading into a crucial trans-Tasman fixture against the Chiefs in Hamilton where the imposing kiwi backline’s strike power is encapsulated by Sonny Bill.
Waratahs coach Michael Foley rated Horne despite his recent numbers.
"Rob has been an incredibly committed defender," Foley said.
"He has made a number of very big tackles for us that have turned possession over.
"He is an aggressive defender, and from time to time, being an aggressive defender, you do miss. He is in that No 13 channel, which gets a lot of traffic. It is one of the most difficult channels to defend in.
"We are very confident in Rob. He is one of the better defenders in that channel in the world. We want Rob to defend aggressively and there will be a time when he misses. The importance in any defensive system is that blokes cover for each other."
Foley said covering Williams would not just be Horne’s responsibility.
"Sonny Bill at 12 gives another dimension to their attack," Foley said.
"It would be crazy for any one guy to assume that role (of stopping Williams).
"The critical thing is to have that connection either side of the player, defending him and supporting him. With any good midfielder, and someone who is as dangerous as Sonny Bill, that connection is critical."