Can there be a professional rugby player who has achieved as much as Brad Thorn? Representing Australia 8 times in rugby league and then winning 59 All Black caps is a unique achievement in itself. Despite his achievements the 37 year old still has a voracious appetite for the game. While some team mates from the successful All Blacks team of last year went off the boil, recuperated from injury or just wallowed in the glory of the victory, the oldest man in the side was soon back at work within days, playing in Japan.
The positive influence that Thorn has on teams he plays in can be seen by the honours he has won in both league and union. 4 NRL titles for the Brisbane Broncos, 2 NPC victories with Canterbury in New Zealand, a Super 14 win with the Crusaders, 3 Tri Nations titles with New Zealand and of course a Rugby World Cup winner medal. Not a bad haul. A Heineken Cup winner’s medal on Saturday against Ulster would complete the set quite nicely. Thorn is no doubt aware that he would enter an exclusive group of one to have achieved so much on so many different levels, but his humility is such that he is unlikely to discuss it.
He was attracted to Leinster by his friendship with scrum coach Greg Feek but there was more to it than that. He had played at Croke Park with the All Blacks in 2008 and described it as a privilege to play at a stadium so steeped in history. Thorn was impressed by the eerie silence of the Irish crowd during place kicks both in the test match and the game against Munster a few days later. He wanted to experience more of the game in Ireland.
The big man from Mosgiel has been described as the consummate professional and it’s hard to argue with that description. Thorn’s work ethic is exceptional. His commitment to the cause is at a level that would put many younger players to shame. While presenting an intimidating figure on the field, few players represent the ethics and values of the game as well as Thorn. He’s is from the old school and young players looking for a role model should look no further than Brad Thorn.