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Thorn in line to return for Highlanders early

Brad Thorn could feature for the Highlanders this weekend

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Article Published: Monday 10 March 2014|

Former All Black Brad Thorn has a chance of returning to Super Rugby this weekend and playing for the Highlanders against the Western Force.

The thirty-nine-year-old damaged some cartilage playing for the Highlanders in their season opening match against the Blues.

Thorn said that when he was tackling Liaki Moli half way through the first half of the Highlanders 29-21 victory over the Blues he felt something "pop".

The early medical prediction was that Thorn would miss up to a month of rugby but he has recovered so quickly that he is now a 70-30 chance of playing on Saturday.

"He is coming along well," Joseph told the Otago Daily Times.

"He trained today so we just have to see. He is going to have another scan tomorrow or the next day to see how it is healing.

"I probably rate him a 70-30 chance of making it. But he has to have a scan and see how he goes."

While Thorn has a strong chance of playing against the Force winger Patrick Osborne is still "no good".

Osborne has been struggling with an ankle injury and he Highlanders rate him as a 50-50 chance of playing.

Coach Joseph said that while the Highlanders bye did not come at an ideal time it had been a valuable break.

"Basically, the guys had a bit of a breather. We've had five games -two and three in the pre-season - so it was good to have a break.

"But you have a bit of momentum and you want to carry on. But we don't control the competition structure and we knew about it six months ago so we planned around it. That is the best we could do."

The Highlanders are expecting a tough clash against the Western Force after they comprehensively beat the Rebels 32-7 in Perth on Saturday.

"They've beaten us the last two times. They're very strong up front, they have very big backs and they scored, I think, four tries in the first half against the Rebels.

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