Thorn joins Reds backroom staff

Date published: May 12 2015

Former All Blacks lock Brad Thorn will be part of the Reds' coaching structure in 2016 after signing a three-year deal with the Brisbane-based franchise.

The Queensland Rugby Union has also announced further appointments to the high-performance structure of Reds for 2016 and beyond.

Following the news of John Connolly’s appointment as coaching consultant, Thorn has been appointed Reds Elite Development Squad forwards coach while current Reds forwards coach Nick Stiles has been re-signed for a further three years as a senior assistant coach.

In support staff, Queensland Rugby has appointed former Reds and Brumbies strength and conditioning coach Damian Marsh as Head of Athletic Performance.

Thorn recently announced his retirement from playing after a celebrated 22-year professional sporting career across Rugby League and Rugby Union, including winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup with New Zealand.

He will join Queensland Rugby in November in his new role with the Reds, but given his unique skillset and successful playing history he will also be used in a number of areas of the Reds professional program.

“I am very excited about becoming involved with the Reds and am grateful for the chance to continue my involvement in Rugby,” said Thorn.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity of working with the boys and sharing what I have learnt over the years. My family and I are excited about moving back to Brisbane and starting this next chapter in our lives.”

Stiles, a former Queensland and Wallabies prop, has been the Reds' forwards coach for the past two seasons and also led Brisbane City to the inaugural National Rugby Championship title as head coach in 2014.

He has been signed as a senior assistant coach with Queensland Rugby for the next three seasons and said he was looking forward to continuing to develop the Reds’ pack.

“I’m obviously very excited to be re-signing for the next three seasons,” he said.

“The forward pack has developed well over the last two years, particularly in the set piece, and I intend to build on this further in the next three years.

"James Slipper and Rob Simmons have committed to the program and I believe we have the best young forwards in the country, so there is plenty of growth left in this pack.

"I’m a proud Queenslander and nothing excites me more than the prospect of helping rebuild this program under the direction the QRU are going.”

Marsh brings with him more than a decade of experience in athletic performance, having previously worked with the Brumbies from 2000 to 2009 before moving to Queensland to take on the role as Reds head performance coach from 2009 to 2013.

He has worked with the Brumbies for the past two Super Rugby seasons.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Brumbies, but I'm looking forward to returning to the Reds,” said Marsh.

Queensland Rugby CEO Jim Carmichael said: “As I have said previously, we have been conducting a review of our high performance area for some time, which is continuing, in order to deliver our short and long-term outcomes.

“We’ve identified areas that require strengthening to provide the team with the appropriate support and structures moving forward.”

There will be further announcements regarding the coaching structure of the Reds and player retention in the coming weeks.