World Cup winner Brad Thorn has finally arrived in Leinster, confirming the speculation. The 37-year-old joins the province on a three-month deal and bolsters their options in the second-row as they look to retain the Heineken Cup. The New Zealander has been playing club rugby with Japanese side Fukuoka Sanix Blues since the World Cup. The Japanese season has just finished, allowing Thorne to join Leinster on this short-term deal.
The 49-times capped All Black offers everything you could want from a short-term signing. His is a proven, world-class player who has won everywhere he’s been. He played a major part in his country winning the World Cup at the end of last year. He brings experience, a winning attitude and is match-fit. With Leo Cullen recovering from achilles surgery, Thorn’s leadership may also prove important.
Since Steven Sykes’ return to South Africa, with Cullen on the sidelines, Leinster have been a little stretched in the second-row. Devin Toner has been playing almost every game, with Damian Browne and Mark Flanagan the other options. The signing of Thorn will take some of the pressure off Toner. Overall, it looks like a brilliant signing for Leinster. Even in the unlikely event of Thorn not making an impact, Leinster have little to lose.
Here’s the big man on arrival in Dublin:
Photo courtesy: Geof Wilson.