Super Rugby
Crusaders draft in Thorne as cover
ESPNscrum Staff
April 25, 2011
Reuben Thorne last played for the Crusaders in 2008 © Getty Images

The Crusaders have turned to former skipper Reuben Thorne as injury cover for their forthcoming Super Rugby tour of Australia and South Africa.

Fresh from a shock loss to the Highlanders last Saturday, the Crusaders leave for Perth tomorrow with Thorne on board. The most capped Crusader, with 129 appearances, 36-year-old Thorne has been called into the squad as cover for loose forward and lock.

He has been playing club rugby for High School Old Boys in Christchurch this season following a two-year stint with Japanese club side Yamaha. Thorne last played for the Crusaders in 2008 in the team's final win over the Waratahs.

Coach Todd Blackadder's injury concerns deepened after the loss to the Highlanders, with halfback Andy Ellis and lock Brad Thorn picking up injuries that will prevent them from joining their team-mates on tomorrow's flight.

Ellis dislocated and fractured his right thumb and will be out for six to eight weeks, while 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 followed by matches against the Stormers in Cape Town a week later and the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on May 15.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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