Thorne, Brown to share Canterbury head coach role

Reuben Thorne (left) and Mark Brown will share the Canterbury head coach role. Photo: Getty Images
Reuben Thorne (left) and Mark Brown will share the Canterbury head coach role. Photo: Getty Images
Current assistants Reuben Thorne and Mark Brown will take over the Canterbury head coach role from Joe Maddock.

The Canterbury Rugby Football Union announced the appointment of the co-coaches on Tuesday morning. They will share the role with the Canterbury Mitre 10 Cup side from 2020.

Said Canterbury Rugby chief executive Tony Smail: “We are thrilled to appoint Reuben and Mark to lead our Mitre 10 Cup programme.

“We were fortunate to have a number of quality applicants, but Reuben and Mark stood out with their vision for the role, their combined skill set and the valuable cohesion they offer as existing members of the coaching group.

Thorne represented Canterbury 71 times between 1996-2011, and won national titles in 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2011.

He captained both the Crusaders and the All Blacks during his career, leading the Crusaders through their unbeaten Super Rugby season in 2002, and captaining the All Blacks to 20 wins in 23 matches. 

Thorne’s transition to coaching included a senior rugby role with High School Old Boys in 2011 and 2012, and he spent time as a technical adviser at the Honda club n Japan.

He has assisted in a number of coaching roles with both the Crusaders and Canterbury, and has been the Canterbury forwards coach since 2018.

Said Thorne: “This provincial union means a lot to me, and to be given the opportunity to step up to the role of head coach is an honour. 

“Consistency and cohesion in our group is important, and Mark and I are really aligned on our direction for the Mitre 10 Cup programme moving forward.

"We’ve coached together for a few years now so we know we collaborate well, and we were fortunate to learn a lot from Joe Maddock during his tenure as head coach, which was beneficial for the both of us.

"I’m looking forward to what is an exciting new challenge.”

Brown joined the Canterbury coaching group in 2017 as the assistant forwards coach.

Prior to that Brown spent four years in charge of the successful Canterbury under-19 squad. Under his tenure, the side made two semi-finals and two finals in the Jock Hobbs memorial national under-19 tournament, which included a premiership title in 2015.

In 2018, he took over from Maddock as head coach of the Crusaders Knights development team.  

Brown said: “The experience I’ve gained in this environment over the past few years has been invaluable, and it’s a privilege to be asked to lead a side that has such a proud history.

"There is a massive challenge ahead of us - provincial rugby gets more and more competitive every year - but it’s something Reuben and I will embrace. 

"For me personally, this is a fantastic opportunity to take the next step in my coaching career with a Canterbury side I’m incredibly proud to represent.” 

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