World Cup-winning All Black in 2011, Brad Thorn is stepping down as coach of the Queensland Reds at the end of the Super Rugby Pacific competition.
Thorn, a former Australian league star with 8 Tests for the Kangaroos and 200 games for the Brisbane Broncos before switching to rugby, turned to coaching after playing 59 Tests for the All Blacks and 92 games for the Crusaders, and 19 for the Highlanders, was appointed to the Reds role in 2017. The side won Australia's Super Rugby title in 2021.
Since then, they have struggled in the Super Rugby Pacific version of the series and have won only three of eight games in 2023.
In announcing his move, Thorn said it had been an honour to coach Queensland.
"I've been lucky to have a great group of staff who have had my back along every step of the way, and I thank them – they're friends for life.
"The past six seasons have been equally enjoyable as they've been challenging, but I'm fortunate for the opportunity and hope when I leave here, the programme and culture will be in better shape than when I started the job in 2018.
"To be part of a young footballer's development is something special. It's been great to see so many earn the opportunity to wear the maroon jersey for the first time and then go on and play for their country.
Harry Wilson leading the charge so far this #SuperRugbyPacific season pic.twitter.com/hDVimjTIuG— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) April 17, 2023
"The job's not finished. We've got six games left and then finals – and we've got a plan to get there."
Thorn cast his image over the side in dealing with issues that involved higher profile players Quade Cooper, Karmichael Hunt and James Slipper. Thorn adopted a youth policy which paid results.
Liam Wright told rugby.com.au, "What he's done here in the past eight years with me has been a major part of our learning and growth.
"We're sad. It's been a big connection, and that care is part of the reason Thorny has been so massive for this group. Today's a perfect example of that, announcing during the bye week so it doesn't take away from the team, so our guys can work towards finishing the season on a high.
"We've been through a lot together. We've connected well. I remember we called each other most days during Covid, trying to work our way through and plan how to get the team through.
"He's entrusted a lot of faith in me, and I've tried to live up to that and I'm sure there will be tears at the end of the season."
Reds general manager of rugby Sam Cordingley said Thorn's contribution to the side could not be underestimated.
"If you think about where he started with our academy, that programme has only gone from strength to strength with what was basically nothing back in 2015-16. We're now arguably the strongest academy in the country, producing a lot of great talent."
.@ChiefsRugby regain top spot— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) April 16, 2023
How is your team sitting?#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/9pRNVBUdSb