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Thorn set for career exit with Baabaas

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Lynn McConnell     25 May 2015     Getty Images

Coached by former Crusaders and Australia coach Robbie Deans the 30-man squad will have 786 Test caps between them.

World Cup-winning lock Brad Thorn will play his final games during the week for the famous club which is celebrating 125 years this season.

Playing at first five-eighths for the side is former Hurricanes and Blues player Jimmy Gopperth, who now plays for Irish club Leinster. Joining him in the backline is Stephen Brett, the former Crusaders and Blues utility, who plays for Lyon.

Former All Blacks wing Joe Rokocoko, who plays for Bayonne, and Blues and Force wing David Smith, from Toulon, will join the side.

Rounding out the New Zealand contribution to the backline is former North Harbour and Crusaders player Tusi Pisi.

Joining Thorn in locking duties will be another former All Black, and Hurricanes stalwart, Jason Eaton who is based in La Rochelle nowadays.

Former All Black and Blues prop Saimone Taumoepeau will pack down from the Castres club.

The year's top try scorer in Premiership rugby this year Thomas Waldrom, who plys his trade with Exeter, will have former Crusaders team-mate George Whitelock with him in the loose. Whitelock plays for the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan where Deans is the coach.

Deans is in Ireland preparing for the Ireland game and said the Irish are key contenders for this year's Rugby World Cup.

"This is gong to be a great World Cup," he told journalists.

"There's more uncertainty in terms of the ultimate winner than there's ever been.

"And there are more sides capable of getting onto the podium than ever before, and that's great for the game."

Deans praised fellow Kiwi coach Joe Schmidt for the good start he had made at Test level.

"Ireland are very well-placed I think right now, the timing of this World Cup is good for them.

"They've got a good nucleus of experience, and they've shown there's no one in the world they can't beat and that includes the All Blacks," he said.