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How greater exposure to foreign clubs could rejuvenate English rugby

The Premiership is under pressure from the burgeoning success of the URC and the Top 14.

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Brad Thorn addresses speculation around his Reds future

Brad Thorn, coach of the Reds looks on from the coaches box during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Rebels and the Reds at AMI Park on May 10, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Brad Thorn hasn’t stopped for 30 years but admits he needs to find time soon to figure out his next move.


The Queensland Reds coach is off contract beyond this year, Thorn transitioning instantly from player to coach in 2017 after more than two decades of dominance in rugby league and union.

“If I could have some time to sit down and think about some stuff that’d be good,” Thorn said when asked what the future holds.

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“This year’s my 30th year; just nonstop, I haven’t really thought about any of my career.

“I’ve got a four-kid family, teenagers. It’s actually hectic; lucky to know what day it is.”

But he might find a moment over the next two weeks.

The Reds have only played in Brisbane once this season but will host the defending champion Crusaders and Brumbies on consecutive Fridays in what shapes as a pivotal fortnight in their season.

A frustrating, ill-disciplined loss to the Melbourne Rebels last weekend saw them drop to 2-3 and summed up their 2023 campaign.

Thorn recognises the irony, given his reputation as one of the most well-drilled players in his time.


“I had my moments,” he smirked.

“People would probably say different things about me.

“It’s (the Reds’ ill-discipline) around the park. There’s different things that add up but at the moment what we know is that it’s really hurting us and has to change.”

The former All Black and Kangaroo’s remarkable resume would ensure he’s in demand on both sides of the ditch, in either code.

And a Rugby World Cup to follow this Super season presents another employment avenue for Thorn should a Test coach require his services.

As for the Reds, he said their form this year would influence if he wanted to stay on but not be the sole factor.


“What’s best for the club is the best result,” he said.


“There’s a lot of things that come into what you’re doing next, a whole heap at play.

“What’s best for the family, for club, how the team’s going.

“This is an important part of our season… that’s what I’m focused on at the moment and it’s pretty hectic, foo t to the floor.”

The Reds gave away nine first-half penalties against the Rebels and Thorn knows they’ll be picked to pieces if they offer the Crusaders the same.

But there is belief the side, without Wallabies centre Hunter Paisami (knee) for at least six weeks but boosted by the return of lock Angus Blyth (ankle), can match the long-time powerhouse.

“You can have potential but at some stage you’ve got to realise it,” Thorn said.


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RUGBYPASS+ How greater exposure to foreign clubs could rejuvenate English rugby How greater exposure to foreign clubs could rejuvenate English rugby