Thorne to lock horns with Brumbies

Veteran Crusaders flanker Rueben Thorne is set to stay at lock for the final Vodacom Super 14 league match on Friday.

Thorne played lock against the Bulls and Crusaders coach Robbie Deans is set to keep him there in order to accommodate 19 year-old loose-forward Tanerau Latimer, who scored two tries against the Bulls. Latimer was deputising for Richie McCaw, but was so impressive that he has forced a positional rethink in the Crusaders pack for the clash with the Brumbies.

If the Crusaders win they will top the log and get a home semi-final and potential home final. The Brumbies need one league point from the match to qualify in fourth place, which would see them return to Christchurch a week later for the play-off.

Speculation in the Christchurch media is that Tone Kopelani will start at hooker because of injury to Corey Flynn, while Rico Gear will get a rest and Scott Hamilton and Caleb Ralph training as the two wingers.

Crusaders (possible): Leon MacDonald, Scott Hamilton, Casey Laulala, Aaron Mauger, Caleb Ralph, Dan Carter, Kevin Senio, Mose Tuiali’i, Richie McCaw (c), Johnny Leo’o, Chris Jack, Reuben Thorne, Greg Somerville, Tone Kopelani, Wyatt Crockett.