Former All Black Brad Thorn in Queenstown yesterday to meet
his new Highlanders team-mates. Photo by Olivia Caldwell.
Former All Black lock Brad Thorn felt quite at home
yesterday when he joined the Highlanders squad for a pre-season
training camp in Queenstown, but the rugby veteran clearly has
Thorn, who arrived at Queenstown airport yesterday afternoon
to join his new team-mates on a trek up the Greenstone
Valley, was excited to be back in an area he had plenty to do
with as a boy.
''I'm excited, you know. It's interesting ... just coming
back where everything kicked off for me as a kid. So it's
pretty special really. I'm looking forward to it.''
Thorn was born in Mosgiel and moved to Bannockburn as a
5-year-old. He was educated in Cromwell, before the family
moved to Brisbane when he was 9.
The rest is history. Thorn's glittering career includes four
rugby league premierships with the Brisbane Broncos, an NPC
title and a Super 15 title with Canterbury and the Crusaders
respectively, a Rugby World Cup and several Tri Nations
trophies and Bledisloe Cups with the All Blacks, and last
year a Heineken Cup title with Irish club Leinster.
Thorn, who will celebrate his 38th birthday next Sunday, says
he still has fuel in the tank for a season with Highlanders
coach Jamie Joseph.
''I had 17 years where I was stressed about trying to achieve
my goals. My father played for Otago as a schoolboy. That was
something special. For me to come back here, this is
something I wanted to do. To come back and represent where I
Thorn insists he has no plans to slow down or relax in 2013.
''It's going to challenge me. How my body holds up. Testing
myself; have I still got it? Can I still mix it?
''I'll take the season, I'll see how I go. There's a part of
me that wouldn't mind going back to Europe for a season or
two. We will see what happens.''