Thorn realistic about Highlanders chances in 2013


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Many Super Rugby pundits have predicted great things for the Highlanders in the 2013 Super Rugby season after some key signings but Brad Thorn says he is being realistic.

Thirty-eight-year-old Thorn has won just about everything a rugby player can including New Zealand provincial, Super Rugby, Heineken Cup and World Cup titles so he knows how difficult it is to win a Super Rugby title.

Thorn was born in Mosgiel, not far from Dunedin and spent his first eight years around Dunedin before moving to Australia with his parents.

The All Black Rugby World Rugby World Cup winner is one of several new signings including Ma’a Nonu and Tony Woodcock which has prompted many to predict great things this season for the Highlanders.

However, former Crusader Thorn says that he is being realistic about the Highlanders chances this season.

“For me having experienced being with the Crusaders, I know there’s a lot of hard work in front of us,” Thorn told Fairfax NZ News.

“It’s a tough competition to win, and my outlook is very much one game at a time.”

“There’s a lot of things that have got to come together to have a successful season. “

“At the moment it’s very promising but we’ve got to keep our feet on the grass and just get on with it.”

Thorn spent seven successful seasons with the Crusaders which reinforced one key thing to him.

“I was there with two of the best players in the world in Richie (McCaw) and Dan (Carter) and I only won one title in seven years.”

“It’s a team game, you’ve got to have luck with injuries, and it’s a long hard season now with 16 rounds and three finals.”

Whilst Thorn talks down the Highlanders chances he is not starting the season without hope of winning another Super Rugby title.

“It’s promising,” he says. “The guys want to raise the bar, they want to achieve more, and so do I. “

“But me being the conservative sort of guy I know there’s a lot of hard work to do.”

Thorn said that his surprise return from Japan to play for the Highlanders was not a half-hearted move back.

“This is me saying I haven’t forgotten where I come from. So I don’t want to come back and not give my best effort.”

“I want to have a good impact. I feel like I’m still in pretty good nick and keen to perform as best I can.”

Thorn still has ambitions in rugby but they do not include making a comeback with the All Blacks.

“I had my time, and it was time to go. The All Blacks will always be something very dear to me, but these other guys have come along, done a great job and it’s their time now.”

Thorn also said that new Highlanders recruit Jake Parignatai who is still recovering from a hand injury was personally trained by Thorn at the Sannix club in Japan and is a player to watch out for.

“He’s aggressive, a good ball-runner, and quite physical. I saw his raw material and thought there was potential for him to play Super Rugby.”

“We talked about it, and I trained him as I train myself. He took to it and worked like a dog, with some really good results.

“He’s very capable and I look forward to seeing him have a go.”

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