DUNEDIN - Former All Blacks enforcer Brad Thorn gets the chance to represent the region of his birth when he makes his Highlanders debut against the Cheetahs in Invercargill tonight.
Thorn missed the Highlanders' first Super Rugby game of the year because of a strained calf.
The inclusion of the ex-Crusader is one of three changes to the starting line-up from the 41-27 defeat to defending champions the Chiefs in Dunedin.
Thorn replaces Jarrad Hoeata at lock, Andrew Hore captains the Highlanders for the first time after completing a five-match suspension from the All Blacks' end-of-season tour and Highlanders newcomer Jake Paringatai takes over for the injured Nasi Manu at No.8.
A one-time Brisbane Bronco and a dual international after having also represented Australia in league, Thorn was born in Mosgiel, on the outskirts of Dunedin.
Thorn, 38, attributed his durability to "a lot of luck and a lot of hard work".
His present fitness was "OK" and he was looking forward to getting on the field in a competitive match.
"I'm just battling away," he said.
"I probably need to shave more because there are a few grey hairs coming through."
Thorn's goal is to add value and experience to the Highlanders.