Veteran Highlanders lock Brad Thorn says he has never seen
any evidence of illegal drug-taking during his lengthy stints
in both rugby codes.
After the Australian Crime Commission released its report
into sport last week, the focus has gone on to the big
sporting codes in Australia and how they handle their
Thorn, who has played league for Australia and rugby for the
All Blacks, said he had not been keeping a close watch on
what the commission had said, but during his time with the
Brisbane Broncos league team, he never saw anything related
''You would see the guys taking those protein shakes or
taking their supplements but you never saw any drugs or that
stuff,'' he said.
''I am sure it could happen and probably has by the sound of
it. Whenever you have guys out there trying to achieve stuff,
they will go outside the boundaries to get where they want to
Thorn, who turned 38 earlier this month, said he had never
been interested in using drugs to boost his game or lengthen
his career and did not even take supplements.
''I suppose I'm a bit from the old school. I think you just
have to have a well-balanced diet.
''But it might be easier for me as naturally I'm a reasonably
strong sort of guy.
''Maybe other people feel they needed to improve in that area
and decided to go and do something else. Hopefully, it is not
too big a thing. But it sounds like it has really blown up
Thorn, who has played at the top level for 18 years, has been
regularly tested and said it was not the most pleasant
experience of his sporting career.
''I've been hammered. I must have been tested 100 times. It's
not much fun, to be honest. But it is just part of life and
you have to get on with it.''
He believed taking a quick blood sample may be an easier way
to carry out a drug test, than having to give a urine sample.
Thorn said for some reason he was picked out a lot to be
tested after a game.
The big lock was enjoying spending time in Wanaka this week
with the Highlanders and had his family with him. He had
fitted in well with his new team and training was going well.
''There are a few new things so it is a little bit different.
Every time you go to a new team there is something different.
It stimulates you, refreshes you. But rugby is rugby. I'm a
tighthead lock whose role is to get out there and get among
Thorn's right calf tightened up at training yesterday morning
in Wanaka and he is doubtful for tomorrow's game at
Queenstown against the Blues.
The Highlanders will name their team today but the Blues will
field a near full-strength team for what is the final warm-up
game for both teams.
All Black halfback Piri Weepu makes his first appearance of
the season with former Highlander Chris Noakes outside him.
Ali Williams will captain the side with All Black Charlie
Faumuina making his first start at tighthead prop and
exciting youngster Charles Piutau returning from injury to
line up at fullback.
To play Highlanders
Charles Piutau, Frank Halai, Rene Ranger, Francis Saili,
George Moala, Chris Noakes, Piri Weepu, Peter Saili, Luke
Braid, Steven Luatua, Ali Williams (captain), Culum
Retallick, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Tom McCartney.
Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Angus Ta'avao, Ofa Tu'ungafasi,
Liaki Moli, Ronald Raaymakers, Sean Polwart, Kane Barrett,
Joe Edwards, Bryn Hall, Jackson Willison, Baden Kerr, Marty
McKenzie, Pita Ahki.