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Thorne recalled to plug Crusaders' gaps

25/04/2011 04:18:26 PM Comments (0)

A mounting injury list has seen the Crusaders call up former All Blacks captain Reuben Thorne as they head to Perth for Saturday's Super Rugby clash with the Western Force.

Regrouping from a shock loss to the Highlanders last Saturday, the highly-ranked Crusaders will fly out on Tuesday with 36-year-old Thorne restored to the squad after an absence of more than two seasons.

The most capped Crusader with 129 appearances, 36-year-old former skipper Thorne will provide cover at loose forward and lock for the Crusaders on their three-match tour, which also includes two matches in South Africa.

He has been playing club rugby in Christchurch this season following a two-year stint with Japanese club side Yamaha and last played for the Crusaders in 2008 in the final win over the Waratahs.

Coach Todd Blackadder's concerns deepened after the loss to the Highlanders, with halfback Andy Ellis and veteran lock Brad Thorn picking up injuries which will prevent them from joining their teammates on Tuesday's flight.

Ellis dislocated and fractured his right thumb and will be out for six to eight weeks, while fellow All Black Thorn has a mild calf tear and will be out for three to four weeks.

Also, No.8 and regular captain Kieran Read will not travel with the squad to Perth, but will leave for Cape Town on Saturday due to his rest and recovery plan.

Blackadder had rested Read for the Highlanders match due to his recent heavy workload.

The Crusaders play Western Force in Perth on Saturday night followed by matches against the Stormers at Cape Town a week later and the Cheetahs at Bloemfontein on May 15.

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