Thorne set for All Blacks return

Former New Zealand captain Reuben Thorne is relieved his period in the international wilderness appears to be over. [more]

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Former New Zealand captain Reuben Thorne is relieved his period in the international wilderness appears to be over.

Thorne is set to return to All Blacks contention after being named in a party of 22 players who will be rested during the opening weeks of the Super 14 season.

Graham Henry’s decision to include Thorne, who he demoted from the skipper’s role and then the team in 2004, in his selection indicates the flanker is likely to travel to France next year for the World Cup.

Thorne told The Press: "I spoke to Graham before I came home from South Africa and he indicated I would be in it, so it’s fantastic news.

"It’s been a big turnaround, I guess all I had to do was make the most of the opportunities I had during the Tri-Nations and obviously they liked what they saw."

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The plan to rest key players has caused friction in southern hemisphere rugby circles but Thorne believes the All Blacks need the time off.

"Guys do need a window," he said. "When it happens is debatable, people have different opinions on that but there’s definitely a need for it at some stage."

The Canterbury veteran returned home early from the national team’s tour of South Africa with a broken thumb.

He is now aiming to take part in the Air New Zealand Cup quarter-finals, which start on October 6-8.

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