Dual international Brad Thorn to coach Reds in Super Rugby

FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2010 file photo New Zealand rugby union player Brad Thorn juggles three balls during a training session in Sydney, Australia. The multi-faceted career of dual rugby league and rugby union international Brad Thorn has taken a surprising new turn with his appointment as head coach of the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

BRISBANE, Australia — The multi-faceted career of dual rugby league and rugby union international Brad Thorn took a new turn Thursday with his appointment as head coach of Super Rugby's Queensland Reds.

The 42-year-old Thorn played league for Australia before switching to rugby union and playing 59 tests for his native New Zealand between 2003 and 2011.

In an extraordinary career, he played 200 games for the Brisbane Broncos in Australia's National Rugby League and 92 matches for the Christchurch-based Crusaders in Super Rugby.

Continuing to play into his 40s, Thorn played in Ireland, Japan and for the Queensland Country team he also coached in Australia's National Rugby Championship.

His elevation to the head coaching role at the Reds comes at the expense of Nick Stiles, who was fired after one season following a 14th-place finish.

The Reds won the Super Rugby title in 2011 under Ewen McKenzie but have struggled since to field competitive teams, though Queensland has always been one of Australia's proudest rugby provinces. In the last four years they have done no better than 13th place in the 15 or 18-team Super Rugby competition.

Stiles was the latest coach to fail at the Reds, coaching the team to only four wins in his first season.

"We feel strongly that Brad Thorn is the right person to lead this change and that his appointment as head coach is the necessary catalyst for that change," Reds chief executive Richard Barker said. "Brad has a proven track record of success as both a player and a coach."

Former Melbourne Rebels head coach Tony McGahan has been appointed as Thorn's senior assistant.

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