Big bad Brad a 'natural leader'

Thu, 02 May 2013 19:23
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Veteran All Black lock Brad Thorn, who will make his 100th Super Rugby appearance on Friday, has been described as a "natural leader".

Veteran All Black lock Brad Thorn, who will run out onto Forsyth Barr Stadium pitch for his 100th Super Rugby appearance on Friday, has been described as a "natural leader".

Thorn joins fellow Highlander Chris King, who also reached this significant milestone of a century in Super Rugby caps this season.

Thorn made his Super Rugby debut for the Crusaders in 2001 and played 92 games for the red & blacks until the end of 2011.

He linked up with the Highlanders in 2013 and he joins a small and illustrious group of centurions, with only Anton Oliver (127 games), Jimmy Cowan (108), Tony Brown (108) and Chris King (102) also to reach the milestone while playing for the southern franchise.

"Brad is a great player who brings a work ethic like no other," Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said.

"He's a natural leader within our environment, and he has added a massive amount to our leadership group this season."

Highlanders Chief Executive Roger Clark also heaped plaudits on the 38-year-old international.

"On behalf of the Highlanders franchise, and all those who support Brad, we offer our congratulations on achieving 100 Super Rugby games," Clark said.

"He brings up this milestone in a Highlanders jersey with his family in attendance, which is special for all of us."

* Meanwhile the coach, Joseph, made four changes to the starting team to face the Sharks on Saturday.

The forward pack remains unchanged from the eight that started in the 8-24 loss to the Crusaders a fortnight ago.

In the backs Colin Slade starts at No.10 and Hayden Parker moves back to the replacement bench.

Ma'a Nonu has been ruled out through injury, bringing Shaun Treeby back into the starting XV in his place at inside centre.

Tamati Ellison makes a long awaited return from a shoulder injury and he will start at outside centre.

Phil Burleigh will start on the right wing.

Players still ruled out by injury include Brayden Mitchell (shoulder - two weeks till his return), Kade Poki (ribs - three weeks), Ma'a Nonu (knee - two to three weeks), Buxton Popoalii (ankle - four week), Lima Sopoaga (ankle - four weeks) and Mose Tuiali'i (knee - one week).

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Phil Burleigh, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 TJ Ioane, 7 John Hardie, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Chris King, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Ma'afu Fia, 18 Elliot Dixon, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Fumiaka Tanaka, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Jason Emery.

Date: Saturday, May 4
Time: 19.35 (09.35 SA time; 07.35 GMT)
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Referee: Steve Walsh
Assistant Referees: Mike Fraser, Kane McBride
TMO: Keith Brown

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10