Queensland Reds have named All Blacks World Cup winner and former dual code star Brad Thorn as their new coach after sacking Nick Stiles following just one season in charge.
Stiles guided the Reds to just four wins in his first season at the helm and reportedly paid the price for having a rocky relationship with his fellow coaches and other officials.
Former Munster coach Tony McGahan had already been unveiled as the Super Rugby team’s new defence coach, signing a two-year contract last month, with Thorn’s additional assistants to be announced.
“Queensland Rugby Union was disappointed with the performance of the Reds in 2017 and we believe we require a catalyst for change in culture, discipline and standards,” said QRU chief executive Richard Barker.
It is a meteoric rise for the 42-year-old Thorn, who became the first man to win multiple Australian NRL titles (in seven seasons with the Brisbane Broncos), the 2011 Rugby World Cup (with New Zealand) and 2012 European Cup (with Leinster).
He only retired from playing in 2015 aged 40 as one of the most respected figures in both league and union.
“Brad has a proven track record of success as both a player and a coach,” said Barker.
“He is without peer when it comes to the culture and professionalism required to be successful at the highest level of our sport and he is enthusiastic about moving the Reds forward and creating a winning culture once again.”
The Reds lost to the Blues in the first ever Super Rugby game in Samoa
Thorn, capped 59 times by the All Blacks, has already experienced success as a mentor, guiding the Queensland U20s to two Super U20 Championship titles as an assistant coach in 2016 and as head coach to an undefeated season in 2017.
“I believe actions speak louder than words,” he said. “I feel I’m contributing to a change in culture and standards in those teams and I look forward to continuing to contribute to this organisation and the success of the Reds.”
Thorn will continue his current role as Queensland Country head coach, before officially starting his new job with the Reds when pre-season training for the 2018 Super Rugby season begins in late November.