Brad Thorn plans to re-sign with the Highlanders for next year, but he will take a break from rugby for the rest of this season after the team’s final game against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday night.
While the franchise is also hoping to bring Tamati Ellison back in 2014.
The 38-year-old Thorn hopes a deal will be finalised with the embattled southern franchise in the ”next few days” that could see him round out his career in Dunedin.
”I’m keen to play some more footy. I feel pretty good, but I just need a break,” he said.
”It would be nice to have a break like everybody else. It would just be nice to feel that excitement and hunger.”
Thorn said he had been wearied by an exhausting programme since before the 2011 World Cup.
”I’ve had a crazy amount of footy, especially in the last two and a half years, and that was backed up by a lot of footy before that too,” he said.
The fatigue was as much mental as physical after playing several campaigns back to back, followed by the angst of a losing Highlanders season.
”If you think about … the Crusaders and no home games, the All Blacks and the World Cup and 24 years since we’d won it. Some guys had three months off while I went straight to Japan, then to Leinster and then back to Japan and then into a tough old season, probably the toughest of my career,” he said.
”You just need a break, it’s that simple.”
Despite the massive workload, Thorn has been one of the Highlanders’ best contributors this season, taking a leadership role within the squad and assuming the captaincy in the absence of Andrew Hore.
Meanwhile, Ellison’s future will depend on a dispensation from the New Zealand Rugby Union, with a decision due in August.
Because he remains contracted to Japanese club Ricoh, Ellison is deemed to be an ”overseas” player as he’s not available for the All Blacks.
Thorn and Fumiaki Tanaka fell into the same category this season, and English loose forward James Haskell was given a dispensation to play for the Highlanders in 2012.
His fate will be decided by the full NZRU board in August.
Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark said the franchise hoped to confirm some key signings on Monday.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.