Brad Thorn
Personal information
Full nameBradley Carnegie Thorn
Born (1975-02-03) 3 February 1975 (age 49)
Mosgiel, Otago, New Zealand
Playing information
Height195 cm (6 ft 5 in)[1]
Weight114 kg (17 st 13 lb)[1]
Rugby league
PositionSecond-row, Prop
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1994–00 Brisbane Broncos 130 22 0 0 88
2005–07 Brisbane Broncos 70 10 0 0 40
Total 200 32 0 0 128
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1996–05 Queensland 11 1 0 0 4
1997 Queensland (SL) 3 0 0 0 0
1997 Australia (SL) 5 1 0 0 4
1998 Australia 3 2 0 0 8
Rugby union
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2001–04, 08–11 Crusaders 92 11 0 0 55
2001–04, 08–10 Canterbury 30 4 0 0 20
2008 Tasman 1 0 0 0 0
2011–12 Sanix Blues 10 0 0 0 0
2012 Leinster 8 0 0 0 0
2013–14 Highlanders 16 1 0 0 5
2014–15 Leicester 12 1 0 0 5
2016 Queensland Country 2 0 0 0 0
Total 171 17 0 0 85
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2003–11 New Zealand 59 4 0 0 20
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2017–2018 Queensland Country 10 8 0 2 80
2018–2023 Queensland Reds 93 42 1 50 45
Total 103 50 1 52 49
Source: [2][3][4]

Bradley Carnegie Thorn (born 3 February 1975) is a New Zealand Australian rugby union coach and former rugby league and rugby union footballer. Born in New Zealand, he represented Australia in rugby league and New Zealand in rugby union in a twenty-two year career as a player, starting at age nineteen and finishing at age forty-one. He was the head coach of the Australian Super Rugby Pacific team, the Queensland Reds. Thorn is their second longest-serving coach in history and their longest serving coach in the professional era.

Thorn played rugby league for the Brisbane Broncos in the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) competition for a total of ten seasons in two spells, and represented Queensland in the State of Origin series. He played eight times for Australia – five for the Kangaroos, and three games for the Super League Australia team. 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.

He first moved to rugby union in 2001 and, over two spells in the sport, became one of the most successful rugby union players. A lock, he was the first player to win a World Cup, a Super Rugby title and the Heineken Cup, despite only moving to the sport in his mid-twenties.[5] He won fifty-nine international caps for New Zealand, and was part of the team that won the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Thorn holds the world record for the oldest player to play in the final of a World Cup match and win it, aged 36 years, 262 days vs France 23 October 2011.

Early and personal life

Thorn was born in Mosgiel, just outside Dunedin in south-eastern Otago.[6][7] When Thorn was five-years-old, his family moved to south-central Otago (Cromwell/Bannockburn).[a] Moving again, Thorn’s family left for Brisbane, Queensland, Australia when he was nine-years-old (1984),[10] and was educated at Aspley East State School and Aspley State High School.[10][11]

Growing up in the northern suburbs of Brisbane, Thorn played junior rugby league for Norths Aspley and Wests Arana Panthers.[12][13]

With the help of Kangaroos teammate Jason Stevens, Thorn became a born-again Christian in 1998.[14][15][16] Thorn stated to The Times: “I do feel now I have purpose, believe there is a God that loves me. I want be a good father and husband and in a footy context give my best.”[15] A few years later, in 2011, Thorn said to Stuff: “I had money, a car, a house – I thought these things would make me happy. But once I got there and got all these things, I still felt unfulfilled. I felt empty ... it was only when I put my faith in Jesus that life changed for me.”[17]

Rugby league career

Brisbane Broncos


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 teammates 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 debut for Australia against New Zealand. Thorn 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.[18]

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, winning 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 third premiership.


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 Broncos travelled to England to face 2006 Super League champions, St Helens 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.[19] At the close of the 2007 NRL season Thorn switched codes once again, moving back to New Zealand to continue his rugby union career.

Rugby union career


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.[20] 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.


Thorn signed with Tasman Rugby Union in October, 2007, making him again eligible for the Crusaders. He won 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 teammate Sonny Bill Williams and Queensland Reds/Melbourne Storm player Will Chambers in 2012. After his 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 New Zealand in 2008 and a third in 2010.

Thorn with the William Webb Ellis Cup

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.[21] 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.[5] He has since been joined in this feat by Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw and Bryan Habana.

Brad Thorn appearing as a substitute for Leinster during the 2012 Pro12 Final

In October 2012, it was reported that Thorn has agreed in principle to join the Highlanders Super rugby franchise for the 2013 season.[22] 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 played his 100th Super rugby game.

In 2014 a bicep injury which required surgery ended his season and called into question whether Thorn would be able to reach his stated goal of playing rugby union professionally until age 40. However, in August 2014, Thorn decided to extend his career once again, signing a deal with English club Leicester Tigers.[23]

On 8 April 2015, Thorn announced that he would retire at the end of the 2014–15 season.[24]

In 2016, Thorn came out of retirement, aged 41, and played for Queensland Country in Australia's National Rugby Championship.

Playing longevity

Thorn's extended playing career - 22 seasons as a professional - has been attributed to his professional approach, including focuses on stretching, listening to his body, and doing only light weights when he felt that was right for him.[25] Thorn is known for his strength and his dedication to weight training throughout his career.

Coaching career


Further information: Brad Thorn's inaugural season as coach of the Queensland Reds

In May 2015 Thorn was revealed to be a newly-appointed “Development/Forwards coach” of the Australian Super Rugby team, the Queensland Reds, starting in late 2015.[26][27] His appointment was scheduled in preparation for the following season (2016).[28] Following his appointment, Thorn held that he wasn't actually retired from playing and that if the Queensland Reds needed him to play, he'd be available: “There's always an urge. I didn't actually retire – I'm just playing less now ... If things were like dire straits, I'm happy to help out any way I can, but I think things are under control at the moment.”[28] In 2016 it was also revealed that Thorn would be the assistant of one of the Queensland-based National Rugby Championship (NRC) teams, Queensland Country. While in the role with Queensland Country, Thorn was selected and played in two of their matches (round five, round six).[29][30]

Before the start to the 2017 National Rugby Championship season, Thorn was announced as the new head coach of Queensland Country.[31][32] Thorn's first season as the head coach of a rugby union team was very successful. With Queensland Country finishing the regular season second on the ladder,[33] gaining a finals spot, the seasons success included a six win-streak from rounds two to round eight. The regular season also included Queensland Country winning the Horan-Little Shield for the first time. The team only held the trophy for one round however, as they lost at home to Perth Spirit the following week.[34] In the first week of finals, the Queensland Country were placed against the Fijian Drua, whom were playing in their first NRC season. The Queensland Country had beaten the Drua just 15 days prior to their finals encounter. Queensland Country dominated the fixture overwhelmingly (winning 57–21),[35] and, it stands as the second-largest finals victory by margin in the NRC's history.


With the Queensland Reds finishing fourteenth (of eighteen), and Brad Thorn having won his first trophy as a coach (and the first NRC title for Queensland Country), Thorn was appointed coach of the Queensland Reds in October 2017.[36][37][38] Thorn was joined by Paul Carozza as second-in-command one month later, his assistant at Queensland Country.[39][40] Scott Higginbotham was named team captain.[41]

Thorn's first season as coach of the Reds (2018), although an improvement compared to prior seasons, was mediocre and inadequate. The Reds finished thirteenth on the overall standings (in front of only the Blues and the Sunwolves) and was the lowest-placed Australian team. Although Thorn's debut match as coach was a thumping loss to the Melbourne Rebels (45–19),[42] Thorn's Reds went on a three-match win-streak beating the Brumbies 18–10 at home,[43] the Bulls 20–14 at home,[44] and the Jaguares 7–18 away.[45] This initial successive start to the season under Thorn was a stark difference from previous years under the likes of Richard Graham, Matt O'Connor and Nick Stiles. Indeed, not since April 2013 did the Reds manage to string three consecutive wins together.[45] Following the Reds' stoic win over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, they were sitting fourth on the overall standings. Unfortunately that brief success to the start of the season was overturned as the Reds lost four-straight matches,[46][47] sitting thirteenth overall after ten rounds. For the remainder of the season the Reds won three and lost five to finish the season in thirteenth with six wins and ten losses. The Queensland Reds were not the only Australian side to have a poor season. In fact, the 2018 Super Rugby season saw the New South Wales Waratahs as the only Australian team to finish in a finals position.

The following season (2019) saw better defence from the Reds, however they finished with the same points total and wins than the previous season.[48] The Reds' win record was sporadic and often inconsistent. Throughout the entire season the Reds never finished above ninth.


Further information: 2020 Super Rugby season, 2021 Super Rugby season, and Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

After the break-up of the Super Rugby competition following-on from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Reds were competing in the newly-created Super Rugby AU for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. With two highly successful seasons in the new competition, Thorn coached the Reds to runner-up in the 2020 season, and to the 2021 championship, defeating the ACT Brumbies.[49] This was Thorn's second trophy as a rugby union coach, the trophies being 3 years, 178 days between each other. The Reds were back to normalcy after resuming in the re-arranged Super Rugby Pacific for 2022.


Further information: 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season and 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season

The 2022 season has been the most successful season for Brad Thorn in a multi-country style Super Rugby competition. And the Reds were going in as Super Rugby AU champions. Indeed, the first four rounds were victorious for the Reds, beating all Australian other than the Brumbies in round five. The Reds won the next three matches and by the conclusion of the tenth round the Reds were sitting fourth overall (second-placed Australian team overall). The Reds won one match for the remainder of the season, finishing seventh overall. In the first finals series fixture the Reds lost to the Crusaders 37–15.[50][51]

In April 2023, Thorn confirmed he will finish as coach of the Queensland Reds at the conclusion of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.[52][53]

Coaching statistics

Coaching stats as head coach
Team Comp. Season Matches
P W D L %
Queensland Country National Rugby Championship 2017 10 8 0 2 080.00
Queensland Reds Super Rugby[b] 2018 16 6 0 10 037.50
2019 16 6 0 10 037.50
2020 (AU) 17 8 1 8 047.06
2021 (TT) 14 9 0 5 064.29
2022 15 8 0 7 053.33
2023 15 5 0 10 033.33
Queensland Reds Total 93 42 1 50 45.16


Rugby league

Brisbane Broncos

State of Origin


Rugby union



New Zealand




  1. ^ Sources differ as to whether Thorn resided in Bannockburn[6][7] or Cromwell,[8] which are roughly five kilometres apart. However, Thorn's family did reside in that area and Thorn was educated in the same locations.[9]
  2. ^ Includes seasons in the Super Rugby AU and the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.


  1. ^ a b c d "Stats |".
  2. ^ "Brad Thorn - Career Stats & Summary - Rugby League Project".
  3. ^ Brad Thorn at
  4. ^ Yesterday's Hero
  5. ^ a b Stoney, Emma (2 June 2012). "For Venerable New Zealand Star, Titles and Battles Keep Coming". The New York Times. Wellington, New Zealand.
  6. ^ a b "Man in black". The New Zealand Herald. Bradley Carnegie Thorn was born in Mosgiel, Otago, where his watchmaking father Lindsay would pluck Thorn from his cot to watch test matches beamed from the other side of the world and encourage him to sing along to a crackling 45 of Big Bad Don, a tribute to his hero, Don Clarke. When he was 5 the family moved to Bannockburn, where he fitted in two seasons of littlies' rugby before the Thorns flew to Australia to seek better job opportunities and a better education for Brad and his older brother, Aaron.
  7. ^ a b Knowler, Richard (29 June 2013). "Thorn just wanted to be one of sport's winners". Stuff. Born in Mosgiel, his family shifted to Bannockburn in Central Otago before relocating to Australia where he began playing rugby league and eventually represented the Kangaroos and Queensland.
  8. ^ Hepburn, Steve (5 September 2011). "Rugby: Thorn relives bygone times". Otago Daily Times. Thorn (36) lived in Cromwell for four years when he was aged from 5 to 9, before his family shifted to Brisbane.
  9. ^ Burdon, Nathan (9 February 2013). "Well-travelled Thorn back where it began". Stuff.
  10. ^ a b Craddock, Robert (22 October 2011). "Hillbilly boy nears lifelong ambition". The Courier-Mail.
  11. ^ Tucker, Jim (23 February 2022). "The childhood trigger that has always made NSW the enemy for Brad Thorn". Rugby Australia (RA).
  12. ^ "Revealed: Ipswich's best rugby league team of all time". The Courier-Mail. 23 September 2020.
  13. ^ Dawson, Andrew (2 March 2021). "BRL FOOTY FLASHBACK: Wests Panthers best, 1970-2021". The Courier-Mail.
  14. ^ "Brad Thorn: From hellraiser to family man". Stuff. 31 January 2009. It wasn't easy. When I became a Christian in '98 I was probably at my peak of boozing and carrying on, but I really felt like there were some things I needed to sort out in my life and one of them was boozing.
  15. ^ a b Souster, Mark (22 November 2008). "Brad Thorn: All Black with God on his side". The Times.
  16. ^ Malin, Ian (25 November 2008). "Cipriani needs show of faith, says All Black Thorn". The Guardian.
  17. ^ Duff, Michelle (22 September 2011). "Rugby players reveal their Gospel truth". Stuff.
  18. ^ "Brad Thorn: All Black with God on his side". Times Online. 22 November 2008.
  19. ^ Dekroo, Karl (9 May 2007). "Still the king". The Courier-Mail. Australia: Queensland Newspapers. Archived from the original on 12 May 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2009.
  20. ^ "Thorn pulls out of All Blacks squad". BBC Sport. 5 November 2001. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
  21. ^ "Planet Rugby | Rugby Union Tournaments | RaboDirect PRO12 | Thorn joins Leinster on loan". Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
  22. ^ "Highlanders set to have Thorn in their side". Stuff. 8 October 2012.
  23. ^ "Brad Thorn joins English club Leicester". The Sydney Morning Herald. 19 August 2014.
  24. ^ "Brad Thorn: Leicester Tigers lock announces retirement". BBC Sport. 8 April 2015.
  25. ^ Walsh, David. "One of the reasons I am enjoying my retirement is because I have not dived into anything yet" – via
  26. ^ Tucker, Jim (2 May 2015). "Queensland Reds' 2011 title-winning side well and truly history". The Courier-Mail.
  27. ^ Newman, Beth (28 May 2015). "Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham not worried by QRU review". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  28. ^ a b Rugari, Vince (26 November 2015). "He's 40 but rugby warrior Brad Thorn could play for Reds next year". Stuff.
  29. ^ "Rugby: Brad Thorn lacing up the boots once more". The New Zealand Herald. 22 September 2016.
  30. ^ "World Cup-winning All Black Brad Thorn to make playing comeback for Queensland Country in National Rugby Championship". ABC News. 22 September 2016.
  31. ^ Phillips, Sam (3 August 2017). "Cooper, Moore headline Brisbane City, Queensland Country squads". Rugby Australia (RA).
  32. ^ "Brad Thorn to coach Queensland Country in National Rugby Championship". Fox Sports Australia. 3 August 2017.
  33. ^ "NRC –". Rugby Australia (RA). Archived from the original on 6 November 2017.
  34. ^ "NRC round nine: Queensland Country vs Perth Spirit". YouTube. 29 October 2017.
  35. ^ "National Rugby Championship – Queensland Country vs. Fijian Drua".
  36. ^ Tucker, Jim (5 October 2017). "Brad Thorn is the new coach of the Queensland Reds following the sacking of Nick Stiles". The Courier-Mail.
  37. ^ Tucker, Jim (5 October 2017). "Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn understands ruthless nature of his new role". The Courier-Mail.
  38. ^ "Dual code legend Brad Thorn has replaced Nick Stiles as Reds coach". Fox Sports Australia. 6 October 2017.
  39. ^ Smith, Wayne (29 November 2017). "Reds appoint Paul Carozza as assistant coach". The Australian.
  40. ^ "New Reds coach Brad Thorn names squad for 2018 Super Rugby season". Fox Sports Australia. 30 November 2017.
  41. ^ "'Captain Mullet' Scott Higginbotham's silent motivation driving Reds' revival". Fox Sports Australia. 22 February 2018.
  42. ^ Windley, Matt (23 February 2018). "Melbourne Rebels new era off to perfect start with 45–19 thumping of Queensland Reds". Herald Sun.
  43. ^ Smith, Wayne (3 March 2018). "Reds dominate Brumbies to set tone for grinding win". The Australian.
  44. ^ "Reds beat Bulls for successive Super wins". ESPN. 10 March 2018.
  45. ^ a b Rugari, Vince (18 March 2018). "Thorn proves doubters wrong as Reds win three in a row". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  46. ^ Clark, Laine (23 April 2018). "Time for Reds to get physical, says Queensland lock". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  47. ^ Wenzel, Murray (28 April 2018). "Super Rugby: Reds upset Lions 27–22 at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium". Fox Sports Australia.
  48. ^ "How did a season of such good form slip quietly by?". 27 June 2019.
  49. ^ Decent, Tom (8 May 2021). "O'Connor try after the siren seals Reds win in thrilling final". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  50. ^ Knowler, Richard (3 June 2022). "Crusaders beat Queensland Reds but lose Ethan Blackadder with shoulder injury". Stuff.
  51. ^ Wenzel, Murray (3 June 2022). "Crusaders end Qld Reds' Super Rugby season". The West Australian.
  52. ^ "Brad Thorn to step down as Queensland Reds coach after Super Rugby Pacific season". ABC News. 18 April 2023.
  53. ^ Wenzel, Murray (18 April 2023). "Former All Black Brad Thorn to leave Queensland Reds head coaching role at season's end". Stuff.
  54. ^ a b c d e "Highlanders happy to have Thorn in its side". Stuff. 30 January 2013.
  55. ^ 1998 State of Origin series
  56. ^ 1999 State of Origin series
  57. ^ "Sport". 10 play.
  58. ^ "Ranfurly Shield defence excites Thorn". Stuff. 14 October 2010.
  59. ^ "Brad Thorn's milestone marks end of pain". Stuff. 7 May 2013.
  60. ^ "Stats |".
  61. ^ "All Blacks". 1 NEWS.
  62. ^ Murray, Scott (23 October 2011). "Rugby World Cup final: New Zealand v France – as it happened". The Guardian. London.
  63. ^ "Brad Carnegie Thorn". ESPN scrum.
  64. ^ "Triple title feat stuns the ageless Brad Thorn". Stuff. 20 May 2012.
  65. ^ a b c d Brisbane Broncos Honours
  66. ^ The Courier Mail[dead link]
  67. ^ "New Zealand All Blacks rugby team official website, New Zealand Rugby Football Union". Archived from the original on 31 May 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.