14 Aug 2014

Thorn calls time on NZ rugby

11:35 am on 14 August 2014

The former All Black and Kangaroos league star Brad Thorn is leaving the Highlanders and he's not the only experienced lock to depart the deep south for the next Super Rugby season.

Former All Black Brad Thorn

Former All Black Brad Thorn Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Former All Black Brad Thorn

Former All Black Brad Thorn Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 39-year-old won two State of Origin league series with Queensland, claimed multiple NRL titles with the Broncos, won provincial rugby titles and the Ranfurly Shield with Canterbury, won a Super Rugby title with the Crusaders and lifted the Bledisloe Cup, Tri-Nations and a World Cup with the All Blacks.

He also won titles with several other teams and numerous personal awards.

Thorn, who played 111 Super Rugby games, is moving overseas, but is yet to confirm where he's headed.

He was born in New Zealand but moved to Australia with his family when he was eight years old.

The Highlanders are also losing the services of fellow lock Josh Bekhuis (82 Super Rugby caps), who's signed with the Blues for 2015.

The duo's decision to depart the deep South signals a changing of the guard in the Highlanders' second row for 2015.

The pair's exit leaves a big hole in the Highlanders locking stocks and removes plenty of experience from their pack, however it provides an opportunity for several local players such as Michael Fatialofa (Southland), Joe Latta, Josh Dickson and Jackson Hemepo (Otago), all of whom will be playing in the provincial competition.

They're all in the running for the remaining two locking spots partnering Joe Wheeler and Tom Franklin.

Head coach Jamie Joseph says both Bekhuis and Thorn have been integral parts of the Highlanders franchise over the last few years, they are both outstanding Highlanders men, they go with the franchise's best wishes, and they wish them well in their future endeavours.

Joseph says the Highlanders coaches will be monitoring the form of players in the provincial competition over the next few months to make up the balance of the 2015 squad.