Brad Thorn is back. The 41-year-old cross-code great has been included on the Queensland Country reserves bench for Saturday's National Rugby Championship clash with the Western Sydney Rams at Sydney's Concord Oval.

Thorn, who is an assistant coach with both Country and the Reds, was named in the NRC squad in August but a niggling calf injury has kept him sidelined until now.

The former All Blacks lock is set for a mouth-watering match-up against giant Wallabies second-rower Will Skelton, who has been named to start for the Rams.

"It's great to welcome a player of Brad Thorn's calibre into the team," said Country coach Toutai Kefu. "He has been excellent in his role as assistant coach and the players are all really looking forward to having the chance to play alongside him.


"While Brad comes into the side, we unfortunately lose Conor (Mitchell), but his selection in the Australian sevens program is testament to his performances both in 2015 and 2016 for Country."

Thorn announced his retirement from professional rugby in 2015 after seeing out his contract with the Leicester Tigers in England.

"I didn't actually retire because of my body, I retired because it seemed like I should - I turned 40," Thorn told in January.

"If you had have put the number 32 next to my name, as far as age, I would have signed another two-year contract. My body feels good. I've always been open and honest, I just love playing."

The New Zealand-born Thorn first shot to prominence in rugby league, where he played 200 NRL matches and won four premierships with the Brisbane Broncos, represented Queensland 11 times in State of Origin and played eight tests for the Kangaroos.

In rugby, Thorn earned 59 caps for the All Blacks and won the 2011 World Cup.

He earned 111 Super Rugby caps for the Crusaders and Highlanders and joined Rod Kafer in the rare triple feat of winning a World Cup, Super Rugby title and European Cup.