Bradley Carnegie Thorn (born 3 February 1975) is a professional rugby union player. He has in the past represented Australia at rugby league, and New Zealand in union. A lock, Thorn is a former All Black, and is currently playing for the Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership. Thorn is one of the most successful rugby union players and was the first player to win a World Cup, a Super Rugby title and the Heineken Cup.
He previously played rugby league for ten years for the Brisbane Broncos in the National Rugby League competition and has also represented Queensland in the State of Origin series. His preferred position in rugby league was in the second-row, though he was equally effective as a prop. In 2000 Thorn was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to Australia's international standing in rugby league.
Having relocated with his family from New Zealand to Australia at age eight, Thorn's junior football was rugby league played in Queensland with Aspley and Wests Arana. He was signed as a junior with the Brisbane Broncos in 1994 and that same year represented Australia in the Junior Kangaroos side.
Professional rugby career
Thorn made his first grade debut in the NSWRL for the Brisbane Broncos, who were then defending premiers, in the 1994 Winfield Cup season's 12th round against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. At season's end he was awarded the club's rookie of the year award.
At the outbreak of the Super League war in 1995, Thorn along with the rest of his Broncos team-mates and players of several other clubs, was aligned with Super League and so ineligible for selection in the Australian Rugby League's 1995 State of Origin series or post-season 1995 Rugby League World Cup. The following year, when all players were again allowed to be selected for representative football, Thorn's debut for the Queensland Maroons came in Game I of the 1996 State of Origin series. He held his place at second-row forward for all three games of that series.
In the 1997 Super League season Thorn played in all three games for Queensland in that year's Super League Tri-series. He also made his international representative debut for Australia against New Zealand. Thorn also won his first premiership with the Broncos when they defeated the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the 1997 Super League grand final in Brisbane. In the 1997 post season, Thorn was selected to travel to England and play for Australia at prop forward in all three matches of the Super League Test series against Great Britain, scoring a try in the third and deciding Test victory. It was on this tour that his front-row partner Jason Stevens helped convince Thorn to convert to Christianity.
Following the sport's re-unification under the National Rugby League, Thorn was selected in Game II of the 1998 State of Origin series. He also continued to represent Australia in all three Tests of the 1998 international series against New Zealand. Thorn also played at second-row forward in the Broncos' victory at the 1998 NRL Grand Final, gaining his second premiership ring.
Thorn was selected to play for Queensland again in Game III of 1999 State of Origin series and all three matches of the 2000 State of Origin series. He then played at second-row forward for the Broncos in their 2000 NRL Grand Final win over the Sydney Roosters, claiming a 3rd premiership. After that Thorn returned to New Zealand to play rugby union.
In 2001 Thorn moved to New Zealand and switched to rugby union, playing for the Crusaders in the Super 12 and Canterbury in the National Provincial Championship. He was part of the Canterbury squad that won the NPC in 2001. He had initially been picked for the end of year All Black tour in 2001 but he pulled out due to his own uncertainty of commitment to the 15 man game. In 2003, Thorn went on to play for New Zealand's All Blacks, appearing in 12 tests, including the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup. He thus became a dual rugby-code international, the second man in history (after Bill Hardcastle) to have represented Australia in league and New Zealand in union. In 2004 Thorn won the NPC with Canterbury. He also won the Tri-Nations with NZ in 2003.
In 2005 Thorn moved back to Brisbane and the National Rugby League, again playing with the Broncos for another three years. He enjoyed further representative selection for Queensland in all three games of the 2005 State of Origin series, scoring a try in Game II.
Thorn claimed another premiership ring when he played at second-row in the Broncos' 2006 NRL Grand Final victory over the Melbourne Storm. As 2006 NRL Premiers, the Brisbane Broncos travelled to England to face 2006 Super League champions, St Helens RLFC in the 2007 World Club Challenge. Thorn played at second-row forward in the Broncos' 14-18 loss.
During the 2007 NRL season at the Broncos' 20-year anniversary celebration, the club announced a list of the 20 best players to play for them to date which included Thorn. At the close of the 2007 NRL season Thorn switched codes once again, moving back to New Zealand to continue his rugby union career.
Thorn signed with Tasman Rugby Union in October, 2007, making him again eligible for the Crusaders. He went on to win the Super 14 competition with the Crusaders in 2008 against the Waratahs in superb style with a 20–12 win. He thus became the second person to win both a Super Rugby title and an NRL title. This feat was first achieved by Peter Ryan for the Brisbane Broncos in 1998 and the Brumbies in 2001, and since Thorn, only by former Crusaders team-mate Sonny Bill Williams and Queensland Reds/Melbourne Storm Will Chambers in 2012. After his huge contribution to the Crusaders, Thorn was selected for the All Blacks to play the first test of 2008 against Ireland in Wellington. He won a second Tri-Nations with NZ in 2008 and a third in 2010.
During the 2011 Super Rugby season, Thorn signed a deal to join Japanese club Fukuoka Sanix Blues in the Japanese Top League after the Rugby World Cup. On 23 October 2011, Thorn was part of the All Blacks team which won the Rugby World Cup 2011, beating France 8-7 in the Final.
In March 2012, during the Japanese off season, Thorn signed a 3-month short term contract with European champions Leinster. Leinster went on to win the 2012 Heineken Cup and Thorn started at lock in the final. Achieving this title meant Thorn was the first player to win a World Cup, a Super Rugby title and the Heineken Cup. He has since been joined in this feat by Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw and Bryan Habana.
In October 2012, it was reported that Thorn has agreed in principle to join the Highlanders Super rugby franchise for the 2013 season. Thorn would be joining the Dunedin-based franchise with incoming World Cup final teammates Ma'a Nonu and Tony Woodcock both of whom were joining from the Blues in Auckland.
On 4 May 2013 against the Sharks in Dunedin Thorn clocked up his 100th Super rugby game.
In 2014 a bicep injury which required season-ending surgery called into question whether Thorn would be able to reach his stated goal of playing rugby union professionally until age 40.
In August 2014, Thorn decided to extend his career once again, signing a deal with English rugby team, Leicester Tigers.
On 8 April 2015, Thorn announced that he will retire at the end of the 2014–15 season.
On 12th May 2015, Brad Thorn was officially announced as the Queensland Reds Elite Development Squad Forwards Coach for the next three seasons, starting from the 2016 Super Rugby Pre-Season in November 2015.
On the 25th of November 2015, Brad Thorn dropped a bombshell at his first media appearance as a member of the Queensland Reds coaching staff. Stating he would happily play for the Reds next season if needed, “There’s always an urge — I actually said at the time I didn’t retire, I’m just playing less now,” Thorn also said “If things were on dire straits I’m happy to help out," (The Courier-Mail, 2015). From a hypothetical point of view if Thorn did play for the Queensland Reds during the 2016 Super Rugby season that would be his 23rd year as a professional rugby player at the age of 41, having begun his professional career in the National Rugby League with the Brisbane Broncos in 1994.
In 2016, Thorn played for Queensland Country in Australia's National Rugby Championship.
Thorn's extended playing career can be attributed to clear ideas including focuses on stretching, listening to his body, and doing only light weights when he felt that was right for him.
- Super League title 1997
- 1997 World Club Championship
- NRL titles in 1998, 2000, and 2006
State of Origin
- 14 appearances for Queensland
- State of Origin titles with Queensland, 1998 and 1999
- Eight Tests Matches for the Australia
- NPC titles 2001 and 2004
- Ranfurly Shield holder
- 2008 Super Rugby title
- Combined 100 Super Rugby appearances with the Crusaders and Highlanders
- Bledisloe Cup 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011
- Tri-Nations titles 2003, 2008 and 2010 (Undefeated in 2003 and 2010)
- Grand Slam 2008 and 2010
- 2011 Rugby World Cup champion
- 59 Test Matches for the All Blacks with a winning ratio of 86.44%
- 2012 Heineken Cup title
- Brisbane Broncos, 1994 Rookie of the Year
- Brisbane Broncos award for Best Forward, 1997, 2000 and 2006
- Brisbane Broncos award for Most Consistent, 2005
- Brisbane Broncos award for Defence Play of the Year, 2007
- Identified as one of the Broncos' 20 best players to play for the club
- Australian Sports Medal for his contribution to Australia's international standing in rugby league
- Nominee for the 2010 New Zealand Rugby Player of the Year (the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Trophy)
- ^ http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/super-rugby/8243473/Highlanders-happy-to-have-Thorn-in-its-side
- 1998 State of Origin series
- 1999 State of Origin series
- Murray, Scott (23 October 2011). "Rugby World Cup final: New Zealand v France – as it happened". The Guardian. London.
- ^ Brisbane Broncos Honours
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-30.