Thorn to lead embattled Highlanders

Wed, 20 Mar 2013 21:56
Large brad thorn highlanders look Large chris king highlanders Large brad thorn highlanders h s Large brad thorn highlanders char Large jamie joseph highlanders 63

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has turned to veteran All Black Brad Thorn for inspiration.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has turned to veteran All Black Brad Thorn for inspiration as the men from Dunedin attempt to break their losing start to the season.

With zero wins from three starts and rooted at the bottom of the table, the 38-year-old Thorn will captain the team in the absence of injured hooker Andrew Hore.

The Highlanders will look to break their duck against the defending champion Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday.

The game will mark the 100th Super Rugby appearance of Highlanders stalwart Chris King. It will be his 84th game for the Highlanders, having made 16 appearances for the Crusaders in 2003 and 2004.

King made his debut for the Highlanders in 2005 and will join a small and illustrious group of centurions, with only Anton Oliver (127 games) and Jimmy Cowan (108 games) also  to reach 100 games while playing for the southern franchise.

The Highlanders coach, Joseph, praised King for his achievement, which he said is testament to his attitude and professionalism; both on and off the field.

"Chris has a very professional approach to his rugby," Joseph said.

"He trains hard, has great technique and gives his all for 80 minutes while on the park.

"He's been a great leader both on and off the field, and these attributes have made him a player who has been selected week in and week out for our team."

King has his second start for the season, and third appearance.

Three changes have been made to the run-on XV that lost a heartbreaker to the Hurricanes in Dunedin last Friday.

In the forwards Liam Coltman makes his first start for the Highlanders, with both Andrew Hore and Brayden Mitchell on the injury list.

Josh Bekhuis returns to lock and Jarrad Hoeata moves to blindside flank and Joe Wheeler moves to the bench.

In the backs Ma'a Nonu returns to inside centre, while Phil Burleigh will provide impact from the bench.

Jason Rutledge returns to the Highlanders as injury cover for Hore and Mitchell. Frae Wilson also joins the Highlanders' reserves for the first time.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 John Hardie, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn (captain), 3 Chris King, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Joe Wheeler, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Frae Wilson, 21 Lima Sopoaga, 22 Phil Burleigh.

Date: Friday, March 22
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 04 December 2015
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 19h05 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Ulster v Edinburgh 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Gloucester v Sale Sharks 19h45 Kingsholm
Sat, 05 December 2015
Treviso v Scarlets 15h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Glasgow Warriors v Leinster 15h00 Scotstoun
Harlequins v London Irish 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 15h00 Sixways
Bath v Northampton Saints 15h15 Recreation Ground
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 17h30 Ricoh Arena
Sun, 06 December 2015
Dragons v Munster 14h30 Rodney Parade
Newcastle Falcons v Saracens 15h00 Kingston Park
Zebre v Ospreys 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26