All four Australian Super Rugby head coaches have been locked in for next year, with Brad Thorn agreeing to a one-season extension at the Queensland Reds.
Thorn, 44, will remain at Ballymore until at least the end of the 2020 campaign and it’s confirmed he will retain the same assistant staff, including attack coach Jim McKay and defence coach Peter Ryan.
The former All Blacks forward and rugby league star joins Waratahs counterpart Daryl Gibson in signing for another 12 months. Brumbies coach Dan McKellar and Melbourne Rebels mentor Dave Wessels have both committed to 2021.
The Reds finished third from bottom in Thorn’s maiden season in charge last year and sit ninth midway through the current campaign following three wins and four losses.
His tenure has been notable for a ruthless approach to selection, ignoring the merits of star playmaker Quade Cooper throughout 2018 while omitting fellow-Wallabies Karmichael Hunt and James Slipper after their involvement in drug-related indiscretions.
All three have departed to other Australian teams, leaving Thorn overseeing a relatively young squad.
Queensland Rugby Union chief executive David Hanham said Thorn’s vision has its full support.
“We remain focused on our medium and long-term coaching strategies that are aimed at creating a strong rugby program at Ballymore,” he said.
“Brad and his coaching team emphasise the importance of leadership, hard work and humility to the squad each day and we continue to be confident we will reap the rewards of this approach as this squad gains more Super Rugby experience.”
Thorn said he believes the Reds are headed in the right direction and the players are developing the humble and hard-working attitude it takes to succeed.
“Our focus remains on growing our game and improving as a group every week,” he said.
“There’ll be obstacles in front of us but we’ve established a good Rugby program and will build on it.”
The Reds are in South Africa, preparing for matches against the Bulls and Sharks.
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