Rugby-Thorn defends record after Wallabies coaching hopes questioned

  • Rugby
  • Thursday, 14 Apr 2022

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A bemused Brad Thorn defended his record as a player and a coach on Thursday after a media report quoting an unnamed Rugby Australia (RA) source poured cold water on his aspirations of coaching the Wallabies.

Former All Black and current Queensland Reds coach Thorn said this week he hoped he might be considered for the Wallabies job at some point in the future.

However, the Sydney Morning Herald published comments from a "high-ranking" RA source who said Thorn had not been good to work with or a team player and needed to "turn that around".

Thorn told reporters the comments were "water off a duck's back" but urged critics to come forward and speak to him.

"I don’t know who I’m talking to. If someone close to me, my staff or my family or something, were critiquing me in that way, then yeah, it hurts," he said.

"But ... who are you talking to? There’s no name to it.

"It’s annoying that I’ve got to stand here. If you feel strongly about something, have a chat, communicate. That’s normal."

The newspaper report triggered a furious response from Queensland Rugby Union boss David Hanham, who defended Thorn and raised his concerns with RA boss Andy Marinos.

Dual code international Thorn represented Australia in rugby league and was part of New Zealand's 2011 World Cup-winning squad in rugby union.

He guided the Reds to the domestic Super Rugby AU title last year, their first piece of silverware in a decade.

"League or union, I wasn’t like the guy scoring lots of tries or flash stuff," he said.

"I was often doing breakdowns and taking hits and legs and more of the team stuff - and I’ve been big on team here."

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is contracted through next year's World Cup but a good result in France could see him retained through to the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia in 2025.

Rennie's forwards coach Dan McKellar, in his last season coaching the ACT Brumbies in Super Rugby, is seen as a potential successor for the Wallabies job.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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