Thorn delights in yet more glory
May 20, 2012
Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll and Brad Thorn parade the Heineken Cup silverware at Twickenham © PA Photos
Brad Thorn immediately set his sights on more glory after he added the Heineken Cup to the most glittering CV in world rugby.
The Kiwi lock helped propel Leinster to a 42-14 victory over Ulster at Twickenham on Saturday - their third title in four years - and as a result became the first player to feature in a Rugby World Cup, Tri-Nations, Super Rugby and a European Cup-winning side.
Thorn was a key figure in the All Blacks' World Cup-winning squad last year and shared in the Crusaders' Super 14 triumph in 2008. During a 59-Test career, he also played in three Tri-Nations-winning sides in 2003, 2008 and 2010. The 37-year-old can also reflect on two success-laded stints in rugby league that saw him claim four NRL titles with the Brisbane Broncos in 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2006. He also earned representative honours with Queensland in the State of Origin and played international rugby league for Australia.
"It was a real privilege to be part of that," Thorn told AAP in the wake his province's thumping victory. "To be a European champion as well as winning the World Cup is incredible.
"I would have just been happy with all my NRL stuff and do some cool stuff over there. But I have always been a big dreamer. Years ago I never dreamed that what happened in my NRL career would happen. Now I just don't believe it again in union. To do and win all I have is amazing."
Thorn was only signed up on a short-term contract by Leinster in March because of an injury crisis and will return to the Fukuoka Sanix Blues in Japan for the next Top League season.
"Most of all I love the camaraderie," he said. "As a six-year-old I used to get nervous before a game playing with my mates. Now, as a 37-year-old I still get nervous before a game with my mates. It's so special.
"It's not so much about what's going to happen next. It's just about enjoying today and only the Lord knows what will happen in the future. We shall see how it works out. Physically I have always been lucky. I feel pretty good. Mentally, that is the last thing I am thinking about!"
Next up for Thorn is a chance to add to his medal haul in Leinster's RaboDirect PRO12 final showdown with the Ospreys in Dublin next weekend. "So I have to keep a little bit of an edge," Thorn said.
Thorn's latest achievement was also hailed by New Zealand boss Steve Hansen - previously his coach with the Crusaders and the All Blacks. "It proves how bloody good he was and is as a rugby player and as a sportsman," Hansen said. "He is a great athlete who is truly professional and deserves everything he's got.
"What is he 38, now? We were all well and truly sitting on the couch and drinking a few beers at 38. It's just tremendous what he's achieved."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton pays a visit to Oxford University Women's Rugby Football Club who have recently made headlines across the world, from Tokyo to New York
"Gentlemen, if you want to see the World Cup going south yet again, you are going the right way about it," John Taylor looks at the state of European rugby
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points