Fi­jians team up with Thorn, 41

Fiji Sun - - Sport - Feed­back: os­eab@fi­jisun.com.fj

Brad Thorn is con­fi­dent his play­ing re­turn at the ripe old age of 41 won’t ham­per the pro­gres­sion of his younger team­mates in the Na­tional Rugby Cham­pi­onship.

Thorn, a former dual-code in­ter­na­tional and World Cup win­ner with the All Blacks, is set to re­sume his play­ing ca­reer for Queens­land Coun­try in this year’s NRC while also serv­ing as as­sis­tant coach next week. The four Fi­jians play­ing are: Samu Kerevi, Chris Kuridrani, Mos­ese Sorovi and Isei Naserai. In truth, the move comes as lit­tle sur­prise - ever since Thorn joined the Queens­land Reds as a de­vel­op­ment coach late last year, there have been per­sis­tent ru­mours he would even­tu­ally pull on the boots once again. That never ended up hap­pen­ing, but a ros­ter reshuf­fle trig­gered by an in­jury to Bris­bane City’s Cadeyrn Neville led to a sud­den de­mand at Bal­ly­more for an ex­tra sec­ondrower, pro­vid­ing Thorn with the op­por­tu­nity he has been wait­ing for.

“Just don’t call it a come­back. I haven’t made a come­back. I al­ways said I’m just play­ing less now,” Thorn said. “I was keen to give them a dif­fer­ent type of coach­ing, maybe side-by­side. I don’t feel I’m block­ing any­one, and I won’t. “I can’t see me play­ing ev­ery game, I don’t know what sort of min­utes I’ll do. I don’t need any big at­ten­tion about it, I just wanted to qui­etly play a few games. We’ll see how it goes.” Thorn re­tired from pro­fes­sional rugby in May last year, bring­ing to a close a sto­ried two-decade, twosport, two-na­tion ca­reer, the likes of which prob­a­bly won’t be seen again.

Not that his per­sonal fit­ness rou­tines have changed much.

“I’ve never stopped train­ing. The only dif­fer­ence in my life from the last 20 years is I just wasn’t play­ing Satur­day,” he said. New Queens­land Coun­try coach Toutai Kefu, the former Reds and Wal­la­bies No.8, is only one year older than Thorn. “I get a bit em­bar­rassed stand­ing next to him some­times,” Kefu said. “He wants to play. I was ac­tu­ally try­ing to talk him out (of it). “He’s keen. I think as a player on the field and The NRC kicks off its third sea­son on Satur­day.

AAP

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