Queensland back former All Black Brad Thorn as coach to stabilise Reds

Brad Thorn has been announced as the Reds head coach for the 2018 Super Rugby season.
GETTY IMAGES

Brad Thorn has been announced as the Reds head coach for the 2018 Super Rugby season.

Queensland Rugby Union boss Richard Barker's gut instinct is that new coach Brad Thorn is the man to stop the rot at the Reds.

Thorn, a well-travelled union and league veteran, was installed as head coach on Thursday, with Nick Stiles sacked after a four-win season in his first year at the helm.

Stiles follows former co-coach Matt O'Connor and Richard Graham to the scrap heap, while John Connolly was also hired and fired as an advisor in 2015.

Brad Thorn has been coaching Bond University Queensland Country in the National Rugby Championship in Australia.
JASON O'BRIEN/GETTY IMAGES

Brad Thorn has been coaching Bond University Queensland Country in the National Rugby Championship in Australia.

Connolly was awarded A$150,000 in court earlier this year for unfair termination, while Stiles will have his 2018 contract paid out just as O'Connor did last year.

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Brad Thorn last appeared in Super Rugby in 2014 for the Highlanders, before finishing his playing days at Leicester and ...
ROB JEFFERIES/GETTY IMAGES

Brad Thorn last appeared in Super Rugby in 2014 for the Highlanders, before finishing his playing days at Leicester and Queensland Country.

Thorn himself admitted he was "new to the game" of coaching, but Barker is backing the 42-year-old in.

"You can't steer away from the fact that some people will say 'here we go again', but we appoint him because we know he can do it," Barker told AAP.

"I think Brad will provide an enormous amount of stability.

"The guy's incredibly humble, but the more time you spend with him the more you see why you'd want to be coached by him and play for him."

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Thorn, currently coaching National Rugby Championship outfit Queensland Country, said he was happy to take a risk and accept the job if it meant he could make a difference.

"I understand what this game is and it can be quite ruthless and sometimes you can be safe and shy away from that," he said.

"But you can step forward and embrace it and take it on."

Thorn's remarkable 22-year playing career began in 1994 and featured two successful stints in both rugby league with Australia and rugby union with the World Cup-winning All Blacks.

"The (Brisbane) Broncos had a reasonable culture, (Canterbury) Crusaders and the All Blacks had a strong culture," he said of some of his former sides.

"I'm a rookie coach but I'm turning 43, I've experienced different coaches and like to think that's given me some good learning."

Thorn joked that the hardest thing about coaching was not playing, something he did up until last year with Queensland Country.

"But if you're not playing, this is a pretty cool connection isn't it," Thorn mused.

"I'd like to think I'm a bit more about action; I'm not the best talker but hopefully we see something grow here."

Thorn sympathised with Stiles, while the axed coach took to Twitter to wish his successor well.

"Tough day, but I'm still on the right side of the grass and still a passionate Reds rugby man," Stiles tweeted.

"Greatest regret is I won't get to finish what we started. I wish Thorny all the best."

 - AAP

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